(Is 66:18-21, Heb 12:5-7. 11-13, Lk 13:22-30)
In response to the question about those to be saved, Jesus draws our attention to the availability and nature of the way to the kingdom. He gives us insight into the absolute disappointment and pain of those unable to follow that way. The Kingdom of God is going to be a joyful gathering of people from different corners of the earth—gathered together as one family!
So, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many will seek to enter and will not be able.” “Narrow” implies the way to the Kingdom is not popular; it’s not the way of the crowd. It is not common, but a discoverable way, seen by those searching for it. Yes, the Kingdom of God itself is a hidden treasure (Mt 13: 44-46), and the way to it is an open secret; a narrow way.
Since Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6), and the Gate of the Sheepfold (Jn 10:7), He is also that Narrow Door that leads to the Kingdom—the secret of life! Jesus, lifted on the Cross, is the Standard that points heavenwards. The Cross of Jesus is given to us as a principle of life; the formula to resolve our mathematics of life. It is the Way! Once we apply the principle of the Cross in every situation, the answers we get thrust us heavenwards. Thus, meditation on the Cross remains the hinge of christian spirituality. “They shall look upon Him whom they pierced” (Zech 12:10, Jn 19:37).
In Jesus Christ and through His Cross as the principle of life, God is gathering us as His Children. Hence, the 2nd reading enjoins us never to forget the exhortation which addresses us as God’s children. God disciplines us as His Children, training us to be modelled after His Only Begotten Son, Jesus. Therefore, we too must pass through the narrow way after Jesus; “Though He was Son, He learnt obedience through sufferings” (Heb 5:8). The sufferings we endure presently as God’s Children are training us to be transformed into the perfect image of Jesus, making us fit for the Kingdom. They are necessary steps we must take to be at the Banquet of Heaven.
The narrow door, the way of the Cross, is the pathway of sacrifice for others, patience, endurance, forgiveness, charity, humility, chastity and holiness. Passing through them ‘as a way’ means they become our habit. This cannot be a popular choice. It comes through ‘striving.’ But it remains the only way God is gathering us to experience His glory. If we have nothing to suffer, we have nothing to offer. The narrow door remains the only pathway to a happy and fulfilled life. It is the only way we can build up successful relationships and families. “All that we suffer in the present time is nothing in comparison with the glory which is destined to be disclosed for us” (Rm 8:18).
Our Lady Queen of Apostles
21st August, 2016.