12TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Enter through the narrow gate.
Most of us have experienced it: you come home from the store, arms laden with shopping bags, and you have to jostle through an entryway that’s about two bags too narrow. Bumping, yanking, turning sideways, you have to put things down to make your way. Perhaps that’s a little like what it is to try to make your way through the narrow gate that Jesus speaks about here. Yes, he really did mean it: the way to life is narrow. It’s so constricted that you have to let go of some heavy and awkward bags to make it through.
There isn’t enough room for you to pass through with the baggage of sin, complacency, or self-righteousness. The way to eternal life requires your attention and effort to be rid of those. Although it can be hard to let go, you don’t have to be stuck. God has given you a place to set down all the baggage: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There you can be rid of the burdens of a lifetime or of a single heated moment.
It’s not just a matter of self-effort either. The Holy Spirit will help you. The Father has poured out his Holy Spirit to teach you all things (John 14:26). One of the ways he does this is by speaking to your conscience. The Spirit will help you see your sin and how it is hindering you. He will also guide you in the way of truth. Listen for his whispers in your thoughts or gentle nudges of your soul. Expect these, not only during your prayer times or at extraordinary moments, but throughout the day, every day, as you try to enter through that narrow gate.
God doesn’t just point out the narrow gate; he leads you to it and then through it. Because he is holy, he made the gate narrow to keep out that which hinders you from coming close to him. But he also has provided a sure way through that gate—the gift of repentance.
God loves you and wants you to enter into his life. So leave your bags at the gate!
“Lord, I want to set down my bags today. Help me to trust your Holy Spirit to lead me through the narrow gate.”
2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36
Psalm 48:2-4, 10-11