Luke in today’s gospel reminds us once again in Lk 13:22 that Jesus was INTENTIONALLY going to Jerusalem. Jesus knew that he was on his way to complete the will of his Father. The prospect of his impending death loomed in front of him. It did not bother him. He obediently continued on PREACHING to the people, to those who do not know Him, to those who are in need of salvation.
Someone in the crowd then ask Jesus: “Sir, will there be only a few saved?” Jesus did not answer the man’s question directly. Instead, Jesus said: “Try your best to enter by the NARROW gate, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.” What is Jesus trying to say to us? I believe it is about our salvation. That salvation requires our great effort. That salvation requires our urgent and immediate attention.
Salvation is for everyone. The redemption is universal. This is what was foretold by Isaiah as we read in the 1st reading, “I am coming to gather the nations of every language. They shall come to witness my glory … they will proclaim my glory to the nations.” This is a calling of all peoples to faith and salvation. All mankind has a vocation to return to heaven. This is what we have been brought into the world for.
Salvation is a free gift, given by grace through faith. Jn 14:6 tells us that “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except by Him.” Is simply receiving Jesus into our hearts enough to justify our passing through the narrow gate? Faith without good works or great efforts will not give us a free passage. James 2:14 reminds us, “How does it help, my brothers, when someone who has never done a single good act claims to have faith? Will that faith bring salvation?” Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17).
Jesus says, “STRIVE to enter”, struggle to enter. You need to work hard at it. This is the attitude we should have towards our salvation and Jesus also says, “many will try to enter and will not succeed.” Do not assume that all is well because we are faithful people, because we have participated in Holy Eucharist, have listened to His teachings, are present in church everyday, to think we have done our job. This could be a tragic misunderstanding.
The 2nd reading points out that “we should lift up our drooping hands and strengthen our trembling knees, and make straight paths for our feet, so that what is lame may not be put completely out of joint but rather be healed.” It is a call for us to live an exemplary life with our conduct and with our charity, encouraging those who are wavering and weak.
There are so many people who have yet to encounter Christ. They could be within our family, among our friends and colleagues, people that we meet everyday. They may have heard the good news but in reality they still do not know Jesus intimately as John the Baptist tell us in Jn 1:26 “Among you stands one whom you do not know”. Who will bring the message of God’s love to them? We have a part to play in God’s redemptive work. The one who decides to follow Christ, becomes then a disciple with the responsibility of helping others find the narrow door that leads to heaven. All of us as children of God, whatever our age or background, are called to bear witness to Christ. To draw people to our Lord does not require us to do anything spectacular.
Simply by putting our faith into practice, by being always cheerful, putting all our difficulties aside, be ready to assist someone to go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, helping people to see the wonders of following the way of the Lord. These are but some simple steps we could do to share God’s redemptive love with others. As we journey towards our Jerusalem, do not let the nitty gritty of life stop us from sharing our faith. Let our end-goal be steadfast to bring Jesus to the world.
We may sometimes want to ask if the people who knows us can recognise us as disciples of Christ. Can we be seen to be a ‘child of God’, that God’s salvation is deep-rooted in our hearts.
With Love and Gratitude