The Narrow Door

Reflection on Luke 13, 22-30

  In this gospel reading, we hear Jesus urging us to reflect on two metaphors. The first is to enter his Kingdom through the narrow door and the second metaphor is that the last will be first and the first will be last.

In both cases, there is a clear call to examine our actions as well as the thoughts and attitudes we have. Because we are being called to live a life which is other directed and as selfless as possible. How do I make that leap from a metaphor to an actual call? Let me explain.

We are born with a survival instinct – that’s obvious and natural. But the seed of survival carries with it a corollary thought – that is in the mode of self preservation, we – each of us – is genetically wired to come first in order to survive. As we grow, our families and our society teach us to lessen the instinct of “me first” and to recognize that we are part of a greater whole.

Yet, that same society also tempts us to think of ourselves first. Watch TV for 30 minutes and almost every commercial focuses on catering to our self gratification.  Is it any wonder that it is hard to be selfless – to be other directed? Of course, it is.  Yet, history has also produced scores of people who rise above the temptation of being selfish and provide a role model for all. Mahatma Gandhi, Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa – it would take us a full day if we wanted to sit down and make a list of those who have inspired us to rise above ourselves.

No matter where we are in our life, we still have to fight the temptation to be selfish and ego centric. If we think about it, almost every day brings another temptation. But in this Gospel reading, we are called to rise above that temptation. We are called to live a life which is other directed. We are called to a life which acknowledges that the more we empty ourselves, the fuller we become.  Think of the best moments in your life. No matter how small, you will always find that they were moments that were spent with others, moments where you gave of yourself or someone else gave of themselves, moments in which individual egos were sublimated in order that a significant moment could be achieved.

Those memories are the very fount from which we can draw our support to continue to strive to focus beyond ourselves. No matter where we are in our life, the challenge and the inspiration face us every day.

Yes, the door is narrow and it is difficult to squeeze through. But going on a diet of being other directed can assure that we can pass through to His kingdom more easily.


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