DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: “Enter the narrow gate”
(Mt 7:6, 12-14).
(Mt 7:6, 12-14).
Gospel of Tuesday
12th week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission)
Respect for holy things
6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
- Jesus uses a popular saying to teach prudent discernment in the preaching of the word of God and distribution of the means of sanctification.
- The Church has always heeded this warning, particularly in the sense of respect with which it administers the sacraments — especially the Holy Eucharist. Filial confidence does not exempt us from the sincere and profound respect which should imbue our relations with God and with holy things.
The golden rule
12 “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
- This “golden rule” gives us a guideline to realize our obligations towards and the love we should have for others.
- However, if we interpreted it superficially it would become a selfish rule; it obviously does not mean do ut des (“I give you something so that you will give me something”) but that we should do good to others unconditionally: we are clever enough not to put limits on how much we love ourselves.
- This rule of conduct will be completed by Jesus’ “new commandment” (Jn 13:34), where he teaches us to love others as he himself has loved us.
The narrow gate
13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
- “Enter”: in St Matthew’s Gospel this verb often has as its object the “Kingdom of heaven” or equivalent expressions (Life, the marriage feast, the joy of the Lord, etc.). We can interpret “enter” as an imperious invitation.
- The way of sin is momentarily pleasant and calls for no effort, but it leads to eternal perdition. Following the way of a generous and sincere Christian life is very demanding — here Jesus speaks of a narrow gate and a hard way — but it leads to Life, to eternal salvation.
- The Christian way involves carrying the Cross.
- “For if a man resolve to submit himself to carrying this cross — that is to say, if he resolve to desire in truth to meet trials and to bear them in all things for God’s sake, he will find in them all great relief and sweetness wherewith he may travel upon this road, detached from all things and desiring nothing. Yet, if he desire to possess anything — whether it comes from God or from any other source — with any feeling of attachment, he has not stripped and denied himself in all things; and thus he will be unable to walk along this narrow path or to climb upward by it” (St John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, book 2, chap. 7, 7).
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
When I was assigned by my company in Vietnam, I went to two famous tourist sites. The Cu Chi Tunnel was located near Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Entering one of its narrow entrances was a nightmare for the claustrophobic. The other site is near Ha Long Bay in the northern part of Vietnam. It is called Thien Cung Cave. The entrance to the cave was huge and several people can enter together if they walked side by side.
If faced with an option on whether or not to enter a gate that is wide or a gate that is narrow, we would naturally choose the easier, wider gate. But to be a follower of Jesus Christ requires a certain degree of sacrifice to attain the out-of-this-world reward.
It may difficult to say “no” to many of the temptations that come our way.
• When you take life casually without responsibility, and just want to live life to the max because they say “life is short” by enjoying the pleasures that money could buy because you think you have earned it;
• when you play with fire by flirting with a married person or go into an adulterous relationship
• or when you are addicted to sinful pleasures such as drugs, pornography and even gossip and slandering others,
• or when you are bitter, resentful, unforgiving of those who have hurt you
– all these deny you of the chance to reside permanently in the kingdom of God.
Instead of being swayed by temptation and just going with the worldly material fad that may lead to uncontrolled sinfulness, we must resolve to keep in mind F.A.D. if we want to enter the kingdom of God someday.
F – ear of the Lord
Our choices in life will determine whether or not we enter the gate of eternal life or the gate of eternal condemnation where fire will perpetually scald our body but will not burn us into ashes so that we will experience unending and unbearable pain.
A – ttitude
If we have the right attitude – that is, be determined to follow the straight path into holiness, and remain joyful under any circumstance and regardless of the sacrifices we have to make, we will attain our objectives. If we have set our minds not to go near the fire because it might burn us, we will avoid any situation that will lead us to that fire.
D – iscipline
As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. If we want a piece of God’s heavenly kingdom, we must enter the narrow gate.
VIDEO REFLECTION ON TODAY’S FIRST READING (YEAR I – Genesis 13:2, 5-18)
In today’s first reading, Abram’s herdsmen and his nephew Lot’s herdsmen had a dispute over land for grazing. The generous Abram suggests they divide the land between them and allowed Lot the opportunity to choose which part he wanted. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells us to take the narrow gate instead of the wide one that may lead to destruction. Indeed, in life, we make choices.
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