In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus talks to his disciples about how they must enter through the narrow gate. In Jerusalem, the narrow gate was a very small entrance into the city that would only accommodate one person as opposed to the wide gate where people could bring carts, camels and large loads. So, quite literally, the narrow gate was difficult. Beyond pointing out just the physical facts, Jesus goes on to speak of the consequences of each gate. The wide gate is a gate that leads to destruction or death while the narrow gate leads to life. I would imagine that we all have been through the wide gate more than once. I also hope that we have take the narrow gate at least a couple of times. My childhood years were mostly consumed with the wide gate. I don’t even think I knew the narrow gate existed. I was a child of the 70’s and invention after invention came to widen the gate and to make things easier. It was more than just inventions though. It was also a period of time right after the Vietnam war and the sexual revolution was in full force. Society told us that if it felt good do it and we deserve to have it our way. I liked the wide gate, it was easy and comfortable. I could run through it with reckless abandon not having to worry if I would fit through. It was easy to make those decisions like so many others. It was kind of like a herd of cattle heading into town without concern for others.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14
Yep, many of my choices were leading me on a path to destruction. More than once, I probably should have been dead. I didn’t realize it at the time but God must have had a plan for me. My guardian angel was watching out for me. You see, I had been baptized at at the age of two. Even though I did not go to church after that, I was still a baptized Christian. I had been dedicated to God, set aside as something special for him. It was like a protection spell had been cast over me to protect me. I recall the day April 25th, 1982, I was in a car accident involving an eighteen wheeler. It left me unconscious for eleven days. I should have died in that accident but there was a plan, a plan I would not figure out until years later. After a long winding, twisting road that was often uphill and hard to navigate, I joined the Catholic church at Easter, 1989, after getting married in 1988 to the love of my life, Linda.
The baptism was not without its effect. I was now a member of the church. and I was learning about the narrow gate. I have to admit the first few time through the narrow gate were difficult but there was a lasting goodness that I felt. Learning to control and discipline myself helped me to start weaning myself from the wide gate. I still take the occasional run through the wide gate but the thrill is gone. I have tasted better, I have experienced the love and closeness that comes from walking with Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I would like to close with a statement that i heard in my recent class on Catholic Social Teaching., “It is not just about choosing to not do wrong but to choose the greater right even when it is not convenient.”