'More determination is required to subdue the interior man than to mortify the body; and to break one's will than to break one's bones.--St. Ignatius of Loyola: (1491 – 1556: was a Spanish knight from a local Basque noble family who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) )
Gospel Text: (LK 13:22-30)
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
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.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
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.
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.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
It takes effort -- spiritual strength -- to submit to God's will, especially when our will contradicts his. Selfish desires pull us toward sin, and spiritual strength is needed to resist that pull. While the world floats lazily downstream in the currents of self-serving whims and immoral trends, we have to swim against the tide if we want to remain with Jesus and follow him to heaven.
Only those who rely on the Lord for strength can swim upstream successfully. This requires daily determination. If we stop and rest, if we take any sort of break from spiritual growth and repentance from sin, we get caught in the downstream currents.
Notice that Jesus did not say that few are strong and most are too weak to enter through the narrow gate. He never answered the question, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Instead, he pointed the listeners toward the narrow gate. The reason the gate is narrow is not because it's used only rarely. Rather, it's narrow because there are many ways to reach hell but only one path into heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way...."
We don't need to be perfect to get into heaven; we only need to desire forgiveness for our sins and to seek God's help in being holy.