August 25, 2019: The 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

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

Luke 13

What does it really take for us to be saved? Jesus answers this question for us today by way of analogy, and he describes Heaven for us as a house where the Father himself is the Master. And he says that the Master keeps his eye on the only way to enter–– on Jesus Christ himself.

He says that to enter through this narrow gate, we have to be “strong enough” and that anyone who is not will be locked outside, and the master will say to them, “I do not know where you come from. Depart from me.”

So what does it mean to be strong enough to enter the gate? The true faith that we are talking about means seizing Christ with our mind and embracing his Truth. It means rejecting our fatalism, our fear, and our skepticism. This strength is the fruit of humble heartfelt prayer.

Notice that he doesn’t say, “You must be careful enough to enter the kingdom of heaven” or “You must be scrupulous enough.” This scrupulosity is not the kind of strength that Jesus is talking about. The reality is that God made us good. That we have the ability to heal and grow and to be connected with the Holy Spirit. His love doesn’t demand that we become someone else, but rather it desires that we allow him to heal and strengthen us.

When the Father looks at us, he sees that our hearts have been stretched and broken by the endless stream of violence and abuse in the world and even in our Church. He sees that sometimes we feel like we’re bearing the sins of the human race to a degree that we cannot heal. He knows that some days we can feel like it’s impossible to ever become whole again. He sees all of these things––and he loves us. He longs for us to just allow him to put the pieces of our soul that have been broken by a fallen world back together. Because at the end of the day, your soul is good. You are good. And you are loved.

In order to be saved, we have to know where we are from and where we are going. We are from the Father, and we are on our way to the Father. And to be strong enough for salvation, we must pray for the grace to join Jesus with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, as he makes his way to Jerusalem. Because the gate of heaven is as narrow as the cross.

Father Kyle Eads attended Ave Maria University and is a newly ordained priest at Mater Christi Parish in the diocese of Albany, NY. He is interested in Scripture and ancient languages and is the oldest of ten kids.