THE NARROW GATE
"Lord, will only a few people be saved?" This question posed by Jesus' interviewer sounds almost impertinent, in its superficial curiosity. The interviewer seems interested in numbers, in statistics. He was missing the whole point, for the answer would not have made him a better person.
Jesus did not answer this idle question but a more important one which the man had no asked, "How can we reach salvation?" The answer was: Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough." (Lk.13, 22-23).
Jesus warns us that there is no easy way to be his disciples as He declares that the Kingdom of God can be accessed only through a "narrow gate". Obviously, Jesus is not speaking of a material gate but of the "narrow gate" of daily faithfulness to one's duties.
We know and firmly believe that God wants all men to be saved. He created men just for this. To achieve such a purpose, God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that through him the world might be saved. But God also expects that each should do his/her part. There is a contribution to be made. It is a challenge to choose what is right in preference to what is pleasant or convenient. It is the courage to do God's will rather than ours, it is a disposition of humility, generosity, detachment, forgiveness... in a word, loving obedience to Jesus who wants to lead us to eternal happiness.
Those who are unable to pass the narrow gate are people who lock themselves out because they lack the determination to get rid of all that is incompatible with God's presence and the holiness of God's kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is open to all, but subject to a basic condition: to live a life according to the teaching of Jesus.
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate" is what makes life challenging, but it is also the only way that leads to eternal happiness in heaven.
Fr. Cipriano Bontacchio