DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY:
“STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE” (Lk 13:22-30).
Gospel of Wednesday, 30th week in Ordinary Time
Strive to enter through the narrow gate
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.”
- God could only save those who want to be saved. God’s gift of freedom to man is so sacred that He would neither violate nor impose Himself to man. God cannot force man to love him, for love is a free human action.
- In order to be saved, man must freely accept, believe, follow and love God. And this requires sacrifice, struggle, effort, self-renunciation, self-abnegation -the same virtues which God lived in order to save man-, and this is what Jesus meant when He said: ““Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”
- With these words, we clearly see that a mere acceptance of Jesus as our Saviour and Lord or a mere fiduciary faith (the Protestant “sola fide”, “faith alone”) does not hold up: this position is not scriptural. Nor does the Protestant position, “once saved, always saved” add up: it is a false and presumptuous assurance of salvation.
- Salvation is not a mere emotional matter. One has to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, as St. Paul himself said (cf. Phil 2:12.13).
- Salvation is an ongoing process: one can lose it (Matt 6:14-15, Matt 7:21, Matt 24:44-51, Matt 25:31-46, Mark 11:26, Luke 10:16, John 14:21, Rom 11:22, Rev 21:8, 21:27). It is not enough to say, “Lord, Lord, I believe in you, you are my Lord, I am born again, I have shared meals with you…and so on…” “Depart from me. I do not know where you are from. 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.”
- Rather, we need to struggle by overcoming and rejecting all things which separate us from God and from others: sin. We have to strive in living our faith, hope, love for God and all virtues, identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ, with the help of His grace, for this is holiness.
- Holiness and salvation, however, require a constant fight against ourselves, a daily effort to begin again, a daily struggle for conversion, correction, rectification, trials: all these serve for our purification and sanctification if accepted with joy and done for love of God and of our neighbor.
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S 1ST READING (Rm 8:26-30) AND GOSPEL ON THE NARROW GATE
Brothers and sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
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