In today’s Gospel Our Lord tells us to ‘try your best to enter by the narrow door’, Where is the narrow door? That narrow door is inside each and everyone of us. It is a time of testing, a time when we are troubled, a time when life becomes difficult. Our call is to try and enter through that door into what is beyond. This means continuing to maintain our relationship with God in the tough times. For those unable to maintain that relationship during such times, Jesus outlines the conversation; stating that the Master will say he doesn’t know them, maintaining that stance even when the people say we knew you in the good times, we used eat and drink with you.
How can we maintain our relationship with God during those tough times? I know myself how difficult it is. I know there have been times in my life when I failed to maintain my relationship with God. I fell out with God when my mother died, I was so angry that God took her away from us. But God kept calling me back, he invited me to come through the narrow door and helped me to work my way through the grief which I struggled with.
The answer is to keep close to other Christians, remain part of the family of God. Continue to take part in the Sacraments. By staying close to other Christians and taking part in the Sacraments we remain part of the Body of Christ. In that way Our Master will be less likely to say to us ‘away from me, I do not know you.’
The first reading today talks about our Baptismal duty to evangelise, God recognises that some people will fall away from the fold (as indicated in the Gospel), this means that God wants to make sure that His Kingdom will be full when this world is over; and He needs us to help Him to fill heaven to the brim. Through our baptism we became new creations, adopted sons and daughters of God, the Celebrant uses the words ‘As Christ was anointed, Priest, Prophet and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.’ 1This bestows upon us a duty to take Christ to those we meet; those struggling to get through the narrow door.
In the second reading we are reminded that we all will need to be disciplined at some stage in our life and St Paul urges us not to be discouraged when we are reprimanded, perhaps if we use the analogy from the Gospel, we should see it as a time to enter through the narrow door. God as a loving Father wants the best for us, even if that sometimes means we need corrections. God wants us to find the path which leads to Him and to remain on that path once we have found it. There may be valleys to cross and mountains to climb, there may be narrow doors to go through and at times we may question whether it is worth it. The true disciple stays on the path, listens to the words of the Master and obeys.
Jesus is pleading with us to make sure we claim our place in His Kingdom, He urges us to stay true in good times and in bad. Placid Murray, an Irish Benedictine monk said “The trials of this life are not so much a punishment for sin as a purification for heaven. They narrow us down to one particular door at some particular stage in our life, but as they bring us all the faster to the next stage where God is waiting for us. Let us then, as we heard in the second Reading, ‘Therefore lift up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees…, strive for peace with all men and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.’2
We all have times when the door seems narrow, Jesus is telling us that this is not the time to give up, this is the time to push on through and keep faith in Him. This is the way to Eternal life; it is through that door we can go home.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCC 543-546: all called to enter the Kingdom
CCC 774-776: the Church as universal sacrament of salvation
CCC 2825-2827: do the Father’s will to enter the Kingdom
CCC 853, 1036, 1344, 1889, 2656: the narrow way
Please keep in your prayers this week
- The Ukrainian and Russian people, may they be able to live in peace.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- All those travelling, that they will arrive safely at their destination.
- All school children, teachers and other staff members of our schools, that they have good holidays, keep safe and well during their time away from school.
- All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
- All the priests who will be moving to new roles this September.
- Eros, Simon, Allegra and Lucas who are being baptised in St Bede’s this weekend.
- All prisoners and their families.
1 The Baptism Book, Rite of Baptism for Infants (Redemptorist Publications, Chawton, Hampshire, 2002)15.
2 Placid Murray OSB, 100 Liturgical Homilies, (The Columba Press, Dublin, 1988)105.