The Narrow Road to Life

Matthew 7: 6,12-14
Gen 13: 2,5-18 / Psa 15

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12)

The road is narrow that leads to life,
Broad the road that leads to destruction;
Thus we must face all trials and strife,
To share the Good News of salvation.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. . . So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:6,12-14)

Reflection

The three lessons that our Lord Jesus teaches us in today’s Gospel passage are part of the numerous teachings that He enumerated, starting from the Beatitudes in chapter 5 or His sermon on the mount, up to the end of chapter 7, where He warns that those who do not act on His words will be like a man who foolishly builds his house on sand; when the floods come, it will collapse and be completely destroyed. (Mt.7:27)

At first these three lessons may appear to be disparate, but after some reflection, we will see that they are actually related. In the first lesson, our Lord draws the line between the sacred and the secular. The Jews regarded Samaritans, Gentiles, and scalawags like dogs and pigs, animals which they considered “unclean”, and so His followers are cautioned to be more discriminating in bringing something as sacred and priceless as the Word of God to them. This warning applies as well today in the case of attempting to convert followers of Islam to the Christian faith. “They may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Fundamentalist Muslims believe in the holy war (Jihad) of killing Christians to go to heaven. ‘Unclean’ also refers to the worldly. We cannot convert the world living by its rules. Our values must be set apart from the world’s standards. There can never be any compromises.

There is a way, however, that we can bridge the gap that separates us from the worldly (sinners), unbelievers, and those opposed to our faith. This is by applying the second lesson of Jesus— to do to them what we would like them to do to us: by showing them the simple values of kindness, respect, tolerance and hospitality. Plus the sincerity of our good intentions. This may be what Jesus meant when He taught us to love our enemies (Mt.5:44-45). A person of compassion and integrity is a more powerful agent of transformation than an eloquent speaker or charismatic leader.

The Way of the Lord, as He teaches us in His third lesson was never meant to be easy. The narrow gate and hard road is a description of the kind of ministry that lies ahead, which is definitely not going to be a walk in the park. Only a few would be chosen, because most people would rather flow with the crowd and take the wide and spacious highways. But those few are special, because they choose to take the hard road of spreading the Good News of God’s kingdom to others.

We thank You, Almighty Father, for the commission that we have received, and along with it, the gifts of discernment, courage, prudence and peace of mind. Grant that with the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, we may persevere in our mission to bring the Gospel values of our Lord Jesus to the marketplace, and win the marketplace for Him. Amen.

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