Most of us are confident that we will enter into the Heavenly Kingdom of God because we are baptized Christians and have attended the Holy Mass during Sundays and have prayed from time to time. But then confronted with the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel for this Sunday, we are somehow frightened of how difficult to enter Heaven is. Then we begin to doubt that, with what we are doing now as followers of Christ, we can really enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus says: “Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed” (Lk 13:24). These words of Jesus repel us as we are accustomed to the culture of convenient and easy life. We want to acquire or achieve things as soon as possible and the easiest way possible. We do not want to sacrifice. For this reason, often times, our idea of Christianity or of following Christ is simply attending the Holy Mass on Sundays, praying often and doing some charitable activities. But with the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, it seems that these things that we are usually doing may not be enough. It seems that we are rather entering the wide door to get to Heaven. On the other hand, Jesus tells us that the only door to Heaven is the narrow one.
Christian life can only be understood in the light of the life of Christ because Christian life is actually the life of Christ. When Jesus was here on earth, He did not have a life of comfort, extravagance and debauchery. Although He also attended some parties, like the wedding at Cana, yet He was there for a mission. All His earthly life was spent to doing the Will of God, His heavenly Father. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, instructed the ignorant, preached the Good News, raised the dead to life, exorcised the possessed, and blessed the people. The peak of His mission was when He offered His life on the cross for our salvation. In other words, He spent His earthly life glorifying God and serving the people.
As followers of Christ, we know that we should also be living the very life of Christ. It is a life of sacrifice; a life of constantly glorifying God in all the things that we do; a life of service to those who are in need. This does not mean that we do not anymore have to enjoy our life. Christian life is a hard life because it is a life of sacrifice for the love of God; yet, it is at the same time a joyful life because we do it for the love of God. When we do hard things out of love, they become easy and enjoying.
The message of Jesus Christ in the Gospel is a warning that unless we choose the narrow gate, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. When we simply live our lives according to what we want, without considering the Will of God and the teachings of Christ and of His Church, then we know that we are doomed to eternal flame. On the other hand, when we choose the narrow gate and live the life of Christ, the life of sacrificial service, then we know that we will attain eternal life in Heaven. The choice is ours. God never forces us because He respects our freedom. But we must be aware of the consequences of our decisions and actions. (BY: REV. FR. ORLANDO MENDOZA)
TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (August 21, 2022)
Is 66:18-21/Heb 12:5-7, 11-13/Lk 13:22-30