Wednesday, October 30, 2013

“A humble and contrite heart is the key that opens the narrow gate”

'All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, I am the way. - St. Catherine of Siena

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.”

The readings at Mass today balance challenge and mercy. Jesus tells us to go through the narrow gate. Our call to love and to bring healing and justice requires sacrifice. Making selfless choices is tough. Sometimes even figuring out what a selfless and loving choice would be in a situation puts us in a bind. We get confused. We fall to temptation. We choose anger, frustration, resentment, or selfishness.

Thankfully, we have the hope that comes from knowing that we serve a merciful God. God’s mercy gives us confidence to take the step we think is the right step, knowing that mercy abounds to bring us back on track if we misstep.

We are not slogging through a narrow gate on our own. We are not aiming for the narrow gate to claim a short-term win for self-discipline or glory. When we journey with Jesus through the narrow gate, we work with him to open the world around us to the present reality of God’s Kingdom. He also provides an advocate to pray with us and for us, Our Blessed Mother. Always turn to Our Lady, she will take you by the hand and lead you to her beloved son.

We don’t have to have all the answers or even know the right questions when we pray. God knows we are often confused and don’t know what to pray for ourselves and for others. Can we make time and space for the Holy Spirit groaning within us to pray on our behalf and on the behalf of others? Can we take a few moments to listen after that prayer for wisdom and encouragement to take the next steps through the narrow gate? Can we praise God for his hope and mercy and for the joy of fellow travelers in our communities?

Let's stop making so many calculations. Let's hurry up to enter by the narrow gate, restarting as many times as needed, and trusting in His mercy. St. Josemaria Escriva sums it up very well «All that which worries you for the moment, is of relative importance. What is of absolute importance is that you be happy, that you be saved».

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