Friday, August 16, 2013

21st Sunday in OT (C) - Strive to enter through the Narrow Gate

Luke 13: 22-30
August 25, 2013

GOSPEL READING: The Narrow Door; Salvation and Rejection
He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where [you] are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

REFLECTION: Strive to enter through the Narrow Gate

The narrow gate?

The narrow gate is a choice. Our daily lives are always confronted with choices. From the moment we wake up, we are already faced with decisions − to do things or not to do things. From the simplest matter of getting up or later to stay longer in bed; what to eat or not to eat at all; to some life changing decisions: college course, jobs, career moves. To make the matter more challenging what is set before us are variety choices and set of alternatives. At times, this makes the choosing more complicated and confusing. And sometimes, if not often, because of the fast-paced environment we are into, we have to make the choice in an instant, we have to make it good; otherwise, we will be left behind. Still very often, with this kind of set up, human as we are, we follow the choice that is easier and possible. We want to achieve our goal the soonest time and the surest possible way. 

Why do we make choices in the first place? We make choices in order for us to reach our goals, to achieve those things that we know and thought to be good for us. One thing is to make our life better or easier. This leads to the second point, what is this choice all about? Our choice is not simply of what we are going to have but more importantly is what we are going to be. With the choices that one makes, it is always the case that the goal is to always achieve or to gain something or to be someone or somebody. At this point, compromise may be made between what is good for now and what is the real good that lasts. The gap between what can I gain and to what is good grow wider and wider. Jesus said do your best to enter through the narrow gate. As best as we can, we are to make sure that we choose to enter in this narrow gate. This passage way is not easy. Going through it is difficult and needs more effort on our part. What makes it less attractive is the fact that there are other gates that are bigger and is easier to pass through. Yet Jesus told his followers to choose the gate that is less attractive, at least for the standard of this world. 

As Christians, we should always be mindful that our life’s goal is not simply to have more, be it material things or social status, but to follow Christ’s teachings in heart and mind. This commitment requires us to evaluate our decisions clearly especially if the matter to be decided at hand calls for the judgment about morality or the goodness or the badness of the action to be done. We have to make it clear that this decision will be in line with our Christian values. We are called to become better persons not just for ourselves only but for others especially those in need. It is a fundamental moral principle to always do good and to avoid evil. This principle looks simple and easy yet we will say that it is easier said than done when we are faced with the situation where there is a contradiction with what we want and what is morally good. 

Now, this is most of the time where conflict arises. Make every effort or do your best, that is the instruction Jesus. Being a follower of Christ’s implies perseverance in doing good things especially in difficult situation. Our lives, then, need to be rooted in Jesus, in His teachings and His ways. It needs conviction to what we believe, the values that we hold on to as Christians. Make effort all the time. This is probably why this choice of the narrow door is not simply a choice but a commitment. It is a decision that needs constant reminder to ourselves. It entails sacrifice that is why the metaphor used by Jesus is a narrow gate. This means that there are times that we have to sacrifice our wants and needs, our comfort zones, things that we love to do and even relationships in order to be faithful and true with our commitment for the greater good that is lasting and gives true joy!


BR. RAMIRO DE BELEN, O.P. is a student brother of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. He has finished his degree in Bachelors of Sacred Theology and is now taking up Master of Arts in Preaching.


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Friars, Narrow Door, Commitment, Choice, Effort, Joy

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