A reading from the gospel according to Luke 13:22-30
22 Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them,
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
25 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.’
26 And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
27 Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
28 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.
29 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.
30 For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Reflection: The Narrow Gate
The gospel reading above was a warning to the Israelites who have long heard of Yahweh and His teachings through the prophets. Many of them thought their place in the Kingdom was secured by the mere fact they were children of Abraham. Not so, according to Jesus. Other nations may enter heaven first. It is also a timely warning for our generation who are called Christians. Being baptized and even being active in church activities is not a security to be admitted in paradise.
The same is true with the length of time of being a follower of Christ. We may have known Jesus for a long time. We may have been serving in the church since our youth. Still we are not assured entrance into the Kingdom of God. What is important when it comes to acquiring eternal life is a change of heart. That is why, Jesus is telling us that the first may be the last and the last may be the first. This is because not all followers are willing to enter the narrow gate.
Jesus is very demanding of a high standard of living for His followers. This standard has nothing to do with material things. It consists of consistently and persistently obeying His commands to deny oneself, take up one’s cross on a daily basis, and to love as He has loved. This is the narrow gate that Jesus is referring to but unfortunately many people are not strong enough to enter though they may have a sincere desire to do it.
Entering the narrow gate means to undergo the painful process of change. It is not easy but it leads to eternal life. Many people are not willing to change so they continue with what is comfortable. This is the broad gate which leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Which gate do you want to go through? The choice is yours.