30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Strive to enter through the narrow gate.
The people listening to Jesus must have wondered what he meant by the “narrow gate.” Was he implying that the way to salvation is so difficult that only the holiest people will be able to squeeze through? Not at all! But he was saying that the gate that leads to salvation is Jesus himself and his grace, which sets us free from sin.
This revelation was at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and the experience of the first Christians. For instance, when Paul met the risen Lord, he realized that only by Jesus’ grace could he ever hope to be made righteous before God. Everything else—his status, his learning, and his strict adherence to Jewish law—was “a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
This is such good news that we can often find it hard to grasp. It means that we don’t have to be perfect before we come to Jesus; we just have to yield to the grace of the Lord Jesus himself so that we can enter his “narrow gate” and find the way to eternal life.
So why, then, does Jesus say that we must “strive” to enter the narrow gate and that “many . . . will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough” (Luke 13:24)? Because while only Jesus can save us, walking in his ways every day can be difficult. It means obeying Jesus’ commandments and loving our neighbor as he loves us. As we all know, this often requires sacrifice and self-denial. No wonder so many people choose the wide and easy road!
But we can persevere because Jesus not only welcomes us through the narrow gate; he walks with us and gives us his grace each day. We don’t have to rely only on our own strength; Jesus is there to help us with every decision we make to love, to sacrifice, and to obey.
Today, imagine Jesus welcoming you to walk with him through the narrow gate. He already knows all your struggles and failings, and he knows you can’t achieve salvation on your own. Trust that he will be your constant traveling companion on the road you have chosen and will give you all the grace and mercy you need each day to follow him.
“Jesus, thank you for being my Savior. I trust that you will give me everything I need to follow you today.”
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