Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We were fortunate this year to have most of the Summer Concerts without cancellations or postponements. I would like to place on record our gratitude to the members of Men’s Club for preparing food for these events as part of their fundraising initiatives. It was wonderful to see them doing this work every Wednesday, without fail.
One of the first things that challenges pilgrims as they visit the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, is the main entrance to the church, a small rectangular doorway less than 5 feet in height called “the Door of Humility.” The previous entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was lowered around the year 1500 to stop looters from driving their carts in. To Christians, it seems appropriate to bow low before entering the place where God humbled himself to become man. One has to let go of one’s ego, before one enters into the presence of the All Holy!
Something similar is expected of us in today’s Gospel, where Jesus exhorts us to enter through the narrow door, if we want to be saved. We know how difficult it can be to bow down so low and to pass through a narrow door. This is the challenge that Jesus presents before us.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus says that for going to destruction, the gate is wide and the road is broad. Many people are happy to enter through that. However, for entering into eternal life, the gate is narrow and the road is constricted. Therefore, few people have the inclination to take it. In what sense does Jesus say that the door is narrow? In the sense that in order to save oneself one has to love God and one’s neighbor. This is not comfortable! It is a “narrow gate” because it is demanding – it requires a commitment.
What are the things in our lives which prevent us from entering the door? My pride, my arrogance, my sins. When we are faced by them, let us think of the door, the one opened wide by the mercy of God who awaits us on the other side to grant us forgiveness. Let’s not be afraid to step out of our selfishness, our closure, our indifference to others, so that we allow Jesus to illuminate our life with a light that never goes out.
United in prayer,
Fr. Joy Jacob, SDB