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” (Lk 13:24).
Jesus offered this answer to the person who asked him if only a few would be saved. We saw a parallel account from Jesus’ parable about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven that was presented a few Sundays ago (cf Mt 19:24). The imagery of a narrow gate represents that what we say and do in our lives matter regarding our building or weakening our relationship with God and one another.
There are many distractions and temptations that pull us from faithfulness and if we give in to them, we will strain or break our relationships. Jesus said many will not be strong enough, and on our own he is right. St Paul also realized this, for he wrote, “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil that I do not want” (Romans 7:19). How many of us could say the same?
Relationships are not easy in the best of circumstances, this is true for building our relationship with God and each other. St Teresa of Avila shared once after being thrown from a carriage into a mud puddle, “If you treat your friends so poorly, it is no wonder that you have so few!”
Authentic relationships demand a willingness to sacrifice for another, to be committed, to be understanding and forgiving, to be present, to risk being vulnerable, honest, and sharing who we truly are with another, free of any pretense or masks. On our own we are not strong enough, but with God all things are possible. Jesus invites us to take his hand this day and he will lead us through the narrow gate, so we can help others do the same. Who then will be saved? Those who are willing to enter the narrow gate of love.