Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.”
Our scriptural reflection begins with a question that someone asked Jesus while he was on his way to Jerusalem: “Lord, will only a few be saved?” (Lk 13:23).
Jesus doesn’t answer the question directly. Salvation isn’t a question of numbers, nor can it be resolved with rigid and petty theological theorems. The decisive factor is to live with clarity and responsibility in order to accept the gift of salvation that God offers to everyone.
For Jesus, the decisive factor isn’t belonging to a religious group, filling our mouths with pious words, being faithful to our traditions, or the scrupulous practice of certain precepts. The only thing that counts for Jesus is “to enter through the narrow door” (Lk 13:24).
“#Salvation is a gift from #God offered to everyone.” -Bishop Silvio José Báez, o.c.d. #narrowdoorTweet
But this doesn’t mean that God is a sort of good-natured, pampering grandfather who permits everything and doesn’t care what we do. No. God is good but he isn’t permissive and indifferent to the way we behave. Salvation is a gift that is free but also demanding.
In the sight of God, who is infinitely good and desirous that all human beings might be saved, doing evil isn’t the same thing as doing good; opting for the truth isn’t the same as opting for a lie. In the sight of God, being upright, kind, and helpful isn’t the same as being selfish, unjust, and corrupt. Wiping away the tears of others isn’t the same thing as making them suffer; being a victim isn’t the same as being an executioner.
“Certainly, #God in His infinite goodness offers His #love and forgiveness to everyone, but we must be ready to receive the gift He offers us.” -Bishop Silvio José Báez, o.c.d. #narrowdoorTweet
This is what Jesus means when he says: “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Lk 13:24). The verb “strive” translates a Greek verb that means to fight or to struggle. Jesus proposes that we live with discipline and effort, welcoming life as a continuous struggle to accept the gift of salvation. St. Paul speaks of the Christian life as “the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim 6:12).
It’s necessary to make a daily effort to go through “the narrow door”, which is nothing other than shaping our lives and orienting our hearts to love with a love like that of the Father in Heaven. To pass through the narrow door means accepting God’s love and loving others with compassion, respect, and concern for their good with a spirit of service.
Bishop Silvio José Báez, o.c.d.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (excerpt)
All scripture references are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.
Translation from the Spanish text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.