Choose The Narrow Gate

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com

September 22, 2022

August 21,2022

Luke 13:22-30

Video of Funeral See video of this homily
GOSPEL READING STARTS AT 19:13
HOMILY STARTS AT 21:21

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”

Interesting opening to the Gospel today. We hear a question asked. “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” And Jesus thinks that question is so important. How does He respond? By ignoring the question. Instead, He says that would strive to enter through the narrow gate. Which means there must be a wide gate, right? So why isn’t He talking about the wide gate? Seems like that would be where you would want to enter through. There’s a lot more people can go through a wide gate than a narrow gate. So why isn’t He talking about the wide gate?

Well, the wide gate allows us to bring all our baggage with us – everything that we love about this world that keeps us from being good Christians, from loving God above all else ‘cause we love things of this world. We get to bring all that garbage with us through a wide gate. And if we have somebody, one of our brothers or sisters falls and is struggling to get up, we just walk around them. It’s a wide gate. I can get around them. They got family. They got friends. They got other people who can take care of stuff like that. I have my own stuff to worry about. So we walk around them. We leave them.

Imagine a young woman on the side of the freeway. Her car is broken down. And we come passing her up. And we go, “She’s got family. She’s got a cell phone. She’s got friends, let them take care of it. I’ve go my own stuff to do.” But what if she was newly moved to town? What if she had no friends, yet? What if she has no family? What if her cell phone is not charged?”

The narrow gate. If we strive to enter the narrow gate. What does that mean? It means that we have to get rid of a bunch of stuff. We can’t carry all that baggage with us. We can’t carry wagons and so on and so forth. We have to choose that which is most important in life. And if we’re going through that narrow gate, and one of our brothers or sisters falls, and is struggling to get up, we cannot walk around them. We have to pick them up and accompany them through that gate.

Today is an amazing day. We have three babies who are being brought into the Church. It’s amazing! This is one of the happiest days in our lives! This is an important thing that we do here. But, if baptizing this child is the only thing that brought you here, if their Confirmation coming up, their First Reconciliation, their First Communion. If that’s the only reason you’re coming here…if you’re here for that and all you do is get up and run out to your car after the service, that’s the wide gate- that’s the easy path. We have to be willing to take a more difficult path. We have to be willing to get rid of the stuff that’s keeping us from taking care of these babies for the rest of their lives. Because, guys, today you’re taking on a heck of a responsibility. These little ones – you’re going to be the ones who are forming them so that they will get to choose the narrow gate because the wide gate is not as attractive.

Across the way, over in our Event Center there are tons of people from the ministries that we have here. These are people who have chosen the narrow gate. They are doing things to help their brothers and sisters. People who help prepare you [referring to the parents and godparents of the babies being baptized) for this day have chosen the narrow gate. They give up their time to help you guys.

Jesus says our time is limited. Our time stops whenever the Master gets up and He locks that door.  Because if we haven’t gone through that narrow gate at the time, then we’re going to be stuck outside. And no matter how much we cry and beg, its too late. And He says, “I do not know where you are from”. What does that even mean? If He says, “I do not know who you are.” I know that God knows who I am.  God knows each and every one of us. Before we were knit in our mother’s wombs, He know us. What does He mean when He says, “I do not know where you are from”? Because we use where we are from, how we were raised, very often to excuse our bad choices, to excuse the fact that we’re going to go through the wide gate.

Brothers and sisters, we need to make the choice, not just for us but for these little ones here who are going to be baptized today, to make ourselves a model that they can follow. Because if we do not, then we’re going to be going through that wide gate, and we’re going to get locked out. So, take the few steps that it takes to get to the Event Center today. Make that choice. You’re going to take those steps that it takes to get over to the Event Center. And then you’re going to take a few minutes to walk around and look at all the wonderful ministries that we have here. And maybe God is going to choose one of those ministries for you. So, today, don’t choose the wide gate.

[Deacon then brings out his cell phone, calls up his camera app and starts a panoramic image of the congregation.]

Don’t worry. I’m only taking pictures so I can mark you all off when I see you over there [laughter]. So everybody needs to come over there so otherwise, your picture gets sent to the Pope, and you don’t want the Pope thinking that you weren’t doing the Narrow Gate thing. Seriously, today, make your choice. Make your choice to change from the easy path to a more difficult path, but a more rewarding path. If you’re not going to do it for yourself, do it for these little ones. Be a good model. Choose the narrow gate.

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