The Narrow Gate


Luke 13: 22-30
Rom 8:26-30 / Ps 13:4-6

Strive to enter through the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be strong enough.
(Luke 13:24)

“Enter through the narrow gate”,
The road to Life is hard and narrow.
Repent before it’s too late,
Don’t wait for death’s surprise tomorrow.

Jesus went through towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be strong enough. After the owner of the house has arisen and shut the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ In reply He will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out. Then people will come from the east and from the west, from the north and the south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Reflection

Definitely, when one is physically or spiritually challenged, he or she will not find it easy to enter through a narrow gate. Aware of the need to take long brisk walks every morning (to counter the rich foods served in BCBP group meetings), my wife and I do this routine at the nearby SM mall. At the early hours of dawn, the gates of the mall are still closed, but we can just slip through between the posts of the gate and the fence to get inside. This narrow passage has become the yardstick of how our battle of the bulge is faring, and so far our efforts have not been in vain.

In today’s Gospel passage, our Lord was warning the Jews that the gate was closing in on them, and only those who were strong enough in their faith would be able to gain access. The opportunity for salvation was limited and becoming narrower as the Jews persisted in rejecting His teachings. That was why Jesus kept telling them that “Indeed, some are last who will be first (the Gentiles), and some are first (the Jews, considered God’s Chosen People) who will be last.” This people had become fat and complacent in their antiquated traditions and practices.

“Many will try to enter but will not be strong enough.” Jesus is likewise warning us that we need to be spiritually strong to enter the “narrow gate”. Jesus is the Gate (Jn.10:9). No one comes to the Father except through Him (Jn.14:6). But salvation is not for the weak and the half-hearted. Spiritual strength is needed to carry our cross and follow Him. Just as we need a regular work-out in the gym or aerobic walk on the road to build physical strength and stamina, we also need to have a regular spiritual exercise to build up the muscles of our soul. These exercises are: prayers, bible reading and meditation, and attending the Eucharistic celebration more than once a week. The Holy Mass is just as important because it provides the spiritual nourishment that comes from Jesus Christ Himself. No supplement is more powerful.

Lord God, thank You for making us understand the importance of spiritual strength and fitness that we must develop in order to withstand the temptations of the world and be prepared to enter into a closer relationship with Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit build up our strength, as we strive to enter the narrow gate to Your kingdom. Amen.

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