Is the gate to heaven really narrow?

October 26, 2022 – Wednesday 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102622.cfm)

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians gave his instructions on how our relationship with the Lord can mold our human relationships and lead us to share Christ’s presence in heaven. Hence, it is in a family relationship that respect, care and concern, responsibility and love must grow as an expression of our Christian faith. Paul also mentioned in master-slave relationship the values of service, devotion, respect and sincerity. However, such relationship must be understood within the context of Paul’s time and culture. Later, we know and realize that no human being must be a slave to another human being. This is a call to give our utmost respect and love to the human person and human dignity, who is created in God’s image and likeness.

Indeed, these instructions of Paul tell us that faith in the Risen Christ, therefore being a believer, should also mold our relationships with one another. It is very important to remember then, that giving and showing respect, no matter what our status is, to each one, is an expression of our true concern and love. Paul wrote earlier, reminding us to live in love, because living in love is living in Christ.

Thus, faith in Jesus is not merely expressed in our religious practices. Faith is not even enough to declare that we have faith, or observance of the minimum days in praying or worshipping. Being a believer entails our total commitment to Jesus that requires a constant change of heart and mind according to the way of life of Jesus.

This is the reason why a man asked Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus’ teaching and way of life seemed to be too difficult to accept and follow. Thus, it is unpopular and out of trend.

The people believed in a distant, angry and vengeful God. Yet, Jesus introduced to us a God who dwells among us, whom we can intimately call Abba-Father, who offers us friendship, a God who forgives and gives hope to the sinners and the hopeless, who touches the sick and the embraces the despised,  and a God who finds delight with the humble and unassuming.

Such teaching must be very difficult to accept because people were used to believe in a distant and vengeful God that would also justify their way of life, culture and traditions – that favor the arrogant and powerful, the corrupt and the bullies.

The gate of heaven seemed to be “narrow” then, because it demands a change of lifestyle, culture, tradition and belief, hence, a change of heart and mind. It seemed to be narrow because Jesus’s way of life disturbs our complacency and arrogance, and his way of loving destroys indifference and anger in our heart.

That is why, the Lord never tires to call us and never stops to desire that we join with Him. And as God calls us, we too are invited to let our faith-relationship with God mold our person and human relationships with one another that will lead us to God’s presence. Kabay pa.

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