This weekend’s readings take us to another level of the understanding of what it takes respond to God’s call to discipleship. We are called to strive to enter through the narrow gate in order to inherit the kingdom.
There is an old saying that “it is easier to be called a Christian than to live as a Christian.” The word of God makes us approach through new lenses the reality of suffering, unfortunate situations in our lives as we strive to respond to the call to share in eternal happiness with the Lord. It also points to the illusion of self-confidence that we nurture as Christians when we think about paradise and heaven. I love to share the song that says, “everybody wants the paradise but no one likes to pay the price.” Today Jesus puts boldly the requirements for the heaven that we take for granted: to enter through the narrow gate. He himself took the narrow path to enter into his glory. Did not he always remind his the disciples that the “Son of Man has to suffer” before entering in his glory?
Today, it seems anachronistic to talk about the saving value and meaning of suffering. For one, we are all inhabited by the tendency to look at unfortunate situations that befall us as a curse or punishment from God. But Job, has wise words to confront that belief: if we receive good things as a gift from God, why should not we look at unfortunate situations, pains, and suffering as a gift from God? Undoubtedly, the reality of suffering challenges us all, but today, as Jesus calls us to seek to enter into the kingdom through the narrow gate, we are reminded that we should ceaselessly and with perseverance pray daily for the grace to continue to strive for the kingdom. We are told that it is not enough to be called Christians, we have to strive to live as Christians, which means for us an ongoing process of conversion and permanent effort to nurture hunger for heaven.
While striving to enter through the narrow gate in faithfulness to the spirit of discipleship, let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.