“Strive to enter through the narrow gate”
In today’s first reading, Isaiah has a vision that “nations of every language” will come to see the glory of the Lord. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem and he also speaks of people coming from the east, west, north, and south to experience God’s Kingdom. On this journey someone asks Jesus: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I will tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”
Jesus is speaking about the gate to eternal life which is not wide and spacious but it is narrow. What does it mean for us to get through that narrow gate to eternity? We don’t merit everlasting life based on someone’s special status like race, religion, or class. We have to earn it not by simply attending rituals, saying right prayers, or just observing rules. We earn eternal life by letting go of attitudes of prejudice, bigotry, and racism. (Dinah Simmons, Living with Christ, August 21, 2022, p. 154.) We have to let go of material things, past resentments, fears and past hurts. Living our faith fully means striving to love every person who enters our life specially the poor and vulnerable persons.
Sr. Melannie Svoboda, S.N.D. reminds us: “ Let us always remember there is Someone who helps us squeeze through that narrow gate. Jesus, like a gentle midwife, helps to pull us into everlasting life.” How well are you and I doing in squeezing through the narrow gate to heaven? (Sr. Melannie Svoboda, S.N.D., Living Faith: Daily Catholic Devotions, August 21, 2022.)
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.