Strive to Enter the Narrow Gate
11th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Readings: Isaiah 28: 14-22
Hebrews 12: 18-19, 22-29
Luke 13: 22-30
We have been taught about true love of God and His compassion in that He sent His Son to set us free from the darkness and giving us peace and joy in our lives. We did not earn our salvation. It was a gift to us. Our giving honor to His Name is our responsibility. Today’s Gospel speaks of a time when the door would be close if we do not follow His principles. If we do not put Him first in our lives, we may be rejected. God has set for us a pattern for life. He has given everything to us and if we are not using His gifts, we are mocking Him. We are praising the enemy more when we confess negative things like; “I am in pain,” “I don’t have money.” If we are denying what God has already given us, we are in essence honoring the enemy. When we focus on the negative, we are praising the devil. When we confess the negative, we are giving credit to the devil. We should be giving honor and glory to God instead.
Today’s Gospel is important because we are constantly being barraged by media about sickness and diseases. The Gospel speaks of a person coming to Christ and asking Him how come there are not many who are being saved? The word “save” in the original Hebrew and Greek is “sozo,” meaning, “delivered,” “made whole,” “rescued from death.” 14 times in the New Testament, it was related to being delivered from diseases. 20 times, it was related to spiritual salvation. Christ went to the cross to save us and deliver us. Jesus’ response to the man was, “strive to enter the straight and narrow gate.” Striving entails making effort, a working out on your part to accomplish something. But too often we do not strive. We just accept negativism rather to follow Christ. Many are seeking but not striving or pushing. 1st Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, seeing we also are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race.”
We do not give in because we are overcomers. It’s when we face the battle and win that we overcome. And when we do fail, it’s because we have allowed ourselves to be controlled by the enemy. The life of God does not pass away. Why do we make death our covenant instead of making life with God our covenant? Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” When we know we are with God, we will conquer. When we are just seeking but not changing our lives, then we are not really living the life of Christ. In some cases, we even make ourselves as “little gods.” Take the case of Judas, who was the treasurer among the 12 apostles. He was with Jesus. He walked, talked and ate with Jesus. He heard Jesus preach. But He was only seeking what good He could get out of this. He was not striving. A lot of times we have allowed ourselves to listen to the world. Some just followed Christ because He fed us. Some followed because He healed us. We are looking for the blessings and benefits instead of giving glory to Him. We may say we are weak in our convictions, our desires may be cold, we haven’t really sought for His gifts so that we can use these to reach out to others. What God desires from us is a relationship. God took away all our sicknesses and diseases. He expects us to strive. Look at Abraham or Isaac, who sacrificed for God. They were able to enter the Kingdom. May we not find ourselves outside God’s Kingdom. Those who are last shall be the first and those who are first shall be the last. The Collect today says that the church should be manifesting the power of God. We are to be like Him. Not seeking the world’s ways but God’s.
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