A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 13:22-30
"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." The Gospel of the Lord
+Come Holy Spirit enkindle the hearts of the Faithful and fill them with the fire of your Love~
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough." The 2016 Olympics are going on right now, what a perfect time to ponder the 'discipline' required of an Olympic athlete. In the second reading today from Hebrews, we hear of the discipline of an "Athlete of God." "Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord...endure your trials...later it brings forth the peaceful fruit of holiness." (Heb 12) In today's Gospel, Jesus says: "Strive", What does that word bring to mind? Perhaps, "reaching", "stretching" for the goal wholeheartedly? Runners in the Olympics choose to discipline their bodies, they stretch and do strength training consistently. They eat specific foods and avoid others, they adhere to the commitment of discipline with hours of practice. Why do they do it? Some do it for money, or fame, but not all. There are true athletes of God in all walks of life who 'live for God's eyes.' Just this week, a very powerful thing happened in the Oympic women's runs, Abby d'Agostino tripped while trying to avoid another runner, who had fallen ahead of her in the run. The amazing thing is, Abby got up and turned around to help the other up and to encourage her on, then both continued running, but then Abby fell down due to the injury she sustained from trying to avoid stepping on the other. The runner she had helped up earlier, then turned around to help her. This unselfish act made the crowds scream with joy., eventhough the race was stilling being run by the others, these two women stopped and helped each other. In the end of the race, which runner really won? Who really entered the 'narrow gate' ? Who really won the 'true gold?' This whole story is overtaking the news because why? Perhaps because the world hungers and thirsts for God but doesn't even know it. The genuinely "Loving Act" has lifted many hearts to God through this one event. The 'narrow gate' is "LOVE" Incarnate Jesus. We are called to run and strive for the narrow gate, to run for the eyes of God! The beautiful loving eyes of our Father in heaven, who is all for us!
In the spiritual life, the discipline, the interior 'resolve' to discipline my mind and heart and body for God alone, in order to adhere to his voice, in order to respond to His Love is a response to being loved first by God, in the depth of one's being, in one's misery, poverty and sinfulness. The striving after God, is the normal reaction of first being loved and desiring to return that love, to the point of hungering and thirsting for it. Sometimes the greatest obstacle to our response to the Love of God in the depth of our soul comes from ourselves, our own fears and our lack of forgiveness. What do I desire in life? What am I willing to do for it? Am I willing to sacrifice for it? Because when we desire and Love One wholeheartedly, we will do anything for that ONE. What fears must I overcome in order to cooperate with God's grace? What needs to be sacrificed in order to gain the "true gold" of Goodness, the greatest Good of all- God Himself! Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it!
"Open to me the gates of holiness, I will enter and give you thanks! This is the Lords own gate where the victors enter." Psalm 118