Entering the Narrow Gate

October 27, 2021
Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
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Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Luke 13:27

We should definitely take our Lord’s words spoken above to heart. It’s easy to presume we will be saved. It’s easy to simply presume that God is kind and that we are good people at heart and, therefore, salvation is assured. But that’s not what Jesus says.

So who will be saved? When we get to Heaven, God willing, we may be surprised at who is saved and who is not. This is clearly one of the messages of today’s Gospel. Jesus even goes so far to say that some, when they die, will assume they are going to enter into Heaven but will hear our Lord say to them, “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” Again, we should take these words to heart.

One of the most dangerous sins we can fall into is presumption. Presumption is deadly because it has a double effect upon us. First, the person caught in presumption is one who has committed mortal sin but has not repented of it. But the presumptuous person also remains incapable of repentance because they refuse to acknowledge their sin. Their conscience is not working. They have blinders on and expect God to wear those same blinders. But God sees all things and judges accordingly.

The “narrow gate” of which Jesus speaks is a simile used by Jesus to tell us that it is not easy to obtain Heaven. It requires a concerted effort on our part as well as the infinite mercy of God. But regarding our part, the attainment of Heaven is only possible if we intentionally seek out the will of God and respond generously to Him. First, that means we confess and turn away from our sins. But from there, it means that we make every effort to fulfill God’s will in our lives.

If this is hard to accept, simply remind yourself that this teaching came directly from Jesus Himself. He is absolutely clear and means what He says. If that fills you with a sort of holy fear, then that is a good thing. “Holy fear” is a gift by which we have a well-ordered conscience that is able to identify those things in our lives that have become immovable obstacles to eternal salvation. The same well-ordered conscience will lead us to that narrow gate which is the only path to eternal life.

Reflect, today, upon the fact that we must all take eternal salvation seriously. If you find that you have become lax in your spiritual life, then use this Gospel as a motivation to change. Do not allow yourself to be one of those knocking at the gates of Heaven, only to realize that our Lord does not know you. Do all you can to eradicate the sin of presumption from your life, and your reward will be truly great in Heaven.

My most merciful Lord, You and You alone can open the gates of Heaven to us, and You and You alone will do so only to those who have responded to Your holy will. Please open my eyes to any ways that I turn from You and remain lax in my spiritual journey. Give me the grace I need to see clearly and to respond to You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to Saint Jude
For Desperate Situations and Desperate Cases
Prayed anytime of year, especially October 19–27

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Featured image above: The Last Judgement by Jose Luiz, via Wikimedia Commons