Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jesus Christ is the 'Narrow Gate'

The big question in the Gospel was,
“can only a few be saved?”

Notice the Lord’s response:
He doesn’t say how many can, or even will be, saved.
Rather, he focuses on how to be saved:
“strive to enter by the narrow gate!”

After all, the Lord describes people
from “east and west.”
Does that sound like “only a few” will be saved?

You see, the Lord’s answer is, however many are saved—
and it may be a huge number—
they will only be saved through “the narrow gate.”

So what is the “narrow gate”?
The narrow gate is Christ himself.

We might wonder, what does this mean
for people who aren’t Catholic, or aren’t Christian?

The answer is,
Jesus Christ acts in the world to save people;
his primary way of acting is through the Catholic Church.
He founded it, he guides it with the Holy Spirit—
which is not easy; yet Christ is the head of his Church.

So, what about other Christians?
Some are closer to the fullness of the Gospel,
some are farther away.
The same for other religions: they have some light,
but not the fullness of what Christ has given.

Now, can we be saved even with a tiny bit of light?
Yes, it’s possible—but it’s not a method I’d recommend.
Personally, I need all the light I can get.

Realize also, just because you have more light,
doesn’t mean you have it any easier.
On the contrary—we’ll have more to answer for.

Some get a morsel—and respond gratefully;
Others get a banquet—and take it for granted.

Jesus Christ is the “narrow” gate.
That means that while he’s wide enough for all to enter—
but to enter, we must give up everything else.

For some, it may be possessions and wealth.
But for others, it may be a way of life;
it can be alcohol or drugs; pleasure or ambition.

For every one of us, there is something we grasp tightly,
that will not pass through the narrow gate.
Notice what those outside say:
“We ate and drank in your company
and you taught in our streets.”
But they did not say that they listened and obeyed.
This warning is aimed at us, his followers.

How many are present when the Lord teaches—
but don’t listen, don’t really change?

How many “eat and drink” the holy Eucharist
without being all that interested in the Lord himself?

Receiving the Eucharist is the moment of approaching,
and entering, the narrow gate!

Imagine the sacred host,
the Body of Christ, is the “gate”: how big is that host?
There is just room enough
for our will to surrender, and pass through.

I know some hear a message like this, and are fearful.
As if Jesus didn’t want to save us!

The answer is not fear, but trust.
The fearful person focuses on oneself: “Can I be saved?”
The trusting person focuses on Christ:
“Lord, you love me, and you will help me change.
I put my trust in you.”


Diane Korzeniewski said...

And, so many think the path is broad.

One of the first things we should consider narrowing is prime-time TV. We are saturated with it, and have accepted all of the God-displeasing content and story-lines it offers.

The Digital Hairshirt said...


It is a good lesson to never take for granted the gift that has been given to us at our own baptisms - else, how different are we from those who profess to be "saved", and treat it as a moment in time yet feel their actions therafter are irrelevant? Yet, with that realization comes the onus of being Catholic - if we know the Truth, we MUST do more each day.

In many aspects, our Catholic faith is both a gift and a burden - pray that we may approach the latter with sout heart, knowing that it is a responsibility entrusted in us by God.

Rachel said...

^ And that God gives us the grace to do all that He asks. :)

Great homily, Father; you laid down the solid teaching there. :)

Anonymous said...

I use the analogy of the "narrow" gate to my children often when they want to do whatever so an so is doing (the not so great stuff, that is). Your homily is one I will share with the 3 eldest. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Dear Martin,
About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell.

I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process].

I was released from hospital 16th September 2004, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins.

Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing.

I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages.

God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17]. I was saved, I am saved, and I am being saved. Yes, but only God knows who they are.