Isaiah 66:18-21, Psalm 1`17:1-2, Heb 12:5-7, 11-13, Lk 13:22-30
In today’s Scripture readings, the Lord gathers His people to Himself from East and West. It is not just Jews or Christians that He draws to Himself but all nations and cultures to share in the banquet of His Kingdom. All people are called to proclaim the glory of God through the witness of the Gospel and to bring God’s message of salvation to all nations.
To be able to witness to the Good News of God, one needs to make a self-offering so that God can make His glory evident in their lives when they make themselves vessels by which God’s glory can be manifested.
When God chooses us as His instruments, we need to be disciplined as His children. This often is not easy because when we are being disciplined, our life’s journey becomes hard and uncomfortable. However, through the suffering and pain, God is always there to correct us and train us as His children. When we are being trained to work for God, we are being molded and formed in such a way that our suffering yields fruits of peace and goodness.
The image of a narrow door as depicted in the Gospel of Luke presents us with some life challenges. A narrow door in the ordinary sense of the word, makes it difficult to enter through. Have you ever tried to enter a narrow door with some bulky furniture? You need to either maneuver yourself with the furniture to get through at some angle, or you have to dissemble parts of the furniture in order to get through safely without damaging the door or the furniture. What a catastrophe!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about entering through the narrow door, which is Christ. God sent His Son into the world to save us from our sins. Jesus is the only Way to the Father and by whom we can get access into the Kingdom of God. Today, many seek to enter the wider door because it is less burdensome and less complicated. It is easier and more convenient and it suits us. The thrill of life, our own superficialities, our self-centeredness, our selfishness, our ego and our pride, are all means of staying in our comfort zone without caring or working towards our own salvation. The world offers us so much materialism, temptations, luxuries and instant salvation through drug abuse, abuse of alcohol and quick fixes to escape the problems of life. The narrow door is nowhere to be seen because we’re blinded by our own insecurities. Relationships are broken, families are broken due to unhappy marriages and the rate of suicide are high among teenagers. We live in a broken world that needs healing.
In today’s Gospel, someone asks Jesus if there will only be a few that will be saved. Jesus answers by saying “Try your best to enter by the narrow door…” In this, Jesus was indicating that He is the only Way to the Kingdom and salvation is found in no-one else but Him.
By entering through the narrow door, we are cooperating with God for our place in the Kingdom of love, joy, peace, and eternal happiness with Him when we strive and rise above our struggles and pain.
Jesus died to set us free from our sins. He came to abolish the law of sin and death and replaced it with love and forgiveness. In Ephesians 1:7-8 it reads “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
Jesus died in the place of us and restored us back to life. Sin separates us from a loving God who desires a relationship with us. However, in our weakness and struggles in temptation, we need to turn back to God and acknowledge our need of Him to renew us and make us whole again. When we consider entering through the narrow door, we are inviting Christ back into our lives and acknowledging our salvation.
It is clear from what we read in the Gospel that to encounter Jesus, we need to have a deep relationship with Him. This means that we need to encounter Christ in our neighbour, such as the sick, those in prison, the poor and destitute, the lonely, the unloved, the rich and all kinds of people from all walks of life. When we have a deep relationship with Jesus, we are being transformed and renewed in our lives and given the courage to enter the Kingdom through the narrow door. It is not just a few who will be saved, but those who actively put the Word of God into practice. A good illustration of this is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man was living a luxurious lifestyle and could not care about poor Lazarus. The door through which he was entering was the wide door of comfort and pleasure. His destiny was not eternal life, but eternal damnation.
“Away from me you wicked ones. I do not know where you come from”. These are harsh words from Jesus which we hope we will never have to hear one day. Salvation is a gift given to us by the Lord. It is not earned or merited or attained by striving or by effort but allowing the Lord to work His Salvation through us. So let us try our best to enter through the narrow door, namely Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
- What door are you focussing on?
- Are you ready to do what is right even when it costs?
- How can you live your life to strengthen an everlasting relationship with God?
Sr Columbia Fernandez OP