The Only Road

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
October 26, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jesus sets out a stringent formula for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.

Jesus goes on to say that some will get to the threshold of the kingdom and be denied entrance because they are not recognized. These petitioners will be shocked, saying, “But we ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.

The passage teaches us that there is more to faith than religion, more to prayer than words, more to relationship than ritual. We may be the most observant Catholic, Lutheran, or Jew. We may stay praying in church longer than anyone else. We may know the catechism by heart. But if our deep heart hasn’t touched God’s, we will not be recognized at the narrow gate.

Where will we find God’s heart? The Gospel seems to suggest that we would do best to look among those who are considered “last” – those who are poor, humble, suffering, marginalized. At “the gate”, they will be “first” – so they must have the secret to that stringent formula.

There is little or nothing between these blessed ones and the touch of God – no power, pride or wealth. Their strength lies in their utter dependence on God – God knows them in that dependence.

It is hard for us to reach that place of trust and unity with God. Our possessions and accomplishments get in the way. Our independence and self-reliance get in the way. Our pride and penchant for control get in the way. It is a very narrow gate through these things that lets us find God – our God Who is not far … Who waits in the spaces between our self-importance.

Poetry: The Narrow Way – Anne Bradstreet

Believe not those who say
     The upward path is smooth,
Lest thou shouldst stumble in the way,
     And faint before the truth.
It is the only road
     Unto the realms of joy;
But he who seeks that blest abode
     Must all his powers employ.
Bright hopes and pure delights
     Upon his course may beam,
And there, amid the sternest heights
     The sweetest flowerets gleam.
On all her breezes borne,
     Earth yields no scents like those;
But he that dares not grasp the thorn
     Should never crave the rose.
Arm—arm thee for the fight!
     Cast useless loads away;
Watch through the darkest hours of night,
     Toil through the hottest day.
Crush pride into the dust,
     Or thou must needs be slack;
And trample down rebellious lust,
     Or it will hold thee back.
Seek not thy honor here;
     Waive pleasure and renown;
The world’s dread scoff undaunted bear,
     And face its deadliest frown.
To labor and to love,
     To pardon and endure,
To lift thy heart to God above,
     And keep thy conscience pure;
Be this thy constant aim,
     Thy hope, thy chief delight;
What matter who should whisper blame,
     Or who should scorn or slight?
What matter, if thy God approve,
     And if, within thy breast,
Thou feel the comfort of His love,
     The earnest of His rest?

Music: Enter the Narrow Gate! – John Michael Talbot

Enter the narrow gate
The gate that leads to life
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Pray for your enemies Those who abuse you
Love them and do not hate And love will follow you.
Enter the narrow gate
The gate that leads to life
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Forgive those who offend And seek their forgiveness And when you bring your gift You will be forgiven.
Enter the narrow gate
The gate that leads to life
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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