The Narrow, Steep Path

Matthew 7:6, 12-14
2Kgs 19 / Psa 48

Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14)

The Word of God’s not for all men
Who think life in this world’s enough.
We know our way to heaven when
The road is narrow, steep and rough.

(Jesus said to His disciples,) “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. So, whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:6, 12-14)

Reflection

My friend Tom once invited us to climb the highest peak of nearby Samal Island one weekend. He said it was a short climb that we could negotiate for an overnight camping. It was indeed a short climb but the trail was narrow and difficult, with sharp rocks and deep ravines that our wives found much too daunting. It worried me that the path appeared scarcely used, and out of the way, but Tom assured me that it was going to be worth the effort. It was. The panorama that greeted us after a half-day’s walk was a rare delight reserved only for a privileged few. A view of most of the island’s shoreline, the vast expanse of emerald-blue, dotted by a few fishing boats, and our beautiful Davao City beyond. It was one of those special moments when one couldn’t help but glorify the Creator for His beautiful handiwork. It is for the same reason that Tom and I and the rest of our running buddies also enjoy cross-country running, where the less trodden paths bring us to sights and shores pristine, where we can enjoy the freshness and adventure that nature can offer. We stay away from the highways and city streets, not only because of the polluted air, but for the danger of being run over by speeding vehicles.

Of course our Lord did not have mountain treks and jogging pathways in mind when He taught His followers this parable of the narrow gate and hard road. He was simply describing to His apostles their ministry that lay ahead, which was 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 who are special choose the hard path of spreading the Good News of God’s kingdom. Because with Jesus, they are walking the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Choosing to follow the Way of Jesus may be a hard decision to make, but all those who made this choice have reached their journey’s end in heaven. St. Paul said it so aptly: “I press on to reach the perfection that comes through faith in Christ … I have not yet won, but am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Jesus captured me… straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.3:9,12-14)

Guide me Lord to find deserving laborers for Your vineyard: those who walk without blame, who speak truth from their heart, and do what is right. (Psalm 15:2-3) Amen.

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