Saturday, August 24, 2013

Enter Through the Narrow Gate

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ
At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.  So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.  Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.  Hebrews 12:11-13
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.  Luke 13:24
Piety is seen in the narrow road we follow.  Our closeness to the Lord is the measure of our Piety.  We walk at his side when we love one another.  He invites us to surrender all the things in our life that compete for our attention to the Lord.  The narrow gate is a door within the door of the gate to Jerusalem where you can only enter one by one.  You cannot ride through that gate on the lap of luxury.  There is nothing we can take with us as we go through that gate.  Naked we came into the world with the love of God and naked we will go out except for the love of God we have held unto.  We do not want to be turned down at the gate.  God will recognize us in what we have done for the least ones of our lives.  We do not have to worry about our place on the line.  The first shall be last and the last will be first.
Love of the cross of Christ comes from our prayer.  The gradual dawning awareness comes home slowly that we can be identified with Christ who is our way, our truth and our life, by the way we carry the crosses of our life in his name.  Our study of the meaning of the cross of Christ opens us to awareness that God disciplines those he acknowledges as Disciples of Christ.  We try to listen to the invitation of Christ by our prayer and our prayer allows us to carry our crosses as his disciples and friends.  Christ calls us to a closeness that has its strongest expression in how we carry our crosses of life.  Our desire to be his disciples is seen in the joy we have in suffering in the name of Christ.

The cross belongs to Christ when we have done everything possible to avoid it by hard work and proper preparation and it is still there.  The cross is not the result of our laziness.  It is rather the something extra we must put out if we are to help a friend in need or do what no one else is trying to do for the sake of a better world.  We strengthen our drooping hands and our weak knees by pushing the envelope.  No one comes to the Father without doing their best to accompany Christ in the hungry, thirsty, sick, homeless and the prisoners.  What we do for the least ones in our life is how we enter the narrow gate.  The door of heaven is never locked to those who put out their best effort in the name of the Lord for the needy of their lives.  

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