June 27, 2017
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. (Matthew 7:12-14)
In an address to youth, Pope Francis once encouraged his audience, “Swim against the tide; it’s good for the heart and takes courage.” Anyone can relax and go with the flow. It’s easy. It takes no effort and it is widely accepted by most, since most are doing the same thing.
Pope Francis echoes the message we hear in today’s Gospel. The easy path is the broad road leading to the wide gate. It is the road built by society, and lined with the many things society has sold us as “acceptable” – abortion, the death penalty, contraception, sex out of wedlock, cohabitation, materialism, and on and on. Society has sold us a bill of goods and we have bought in. The twinge we feel in our hearts is God telling us we are on the wrong path; but we are able to justify our actions by holding ourselves up to society’s standards rather than God’s. We travel down this broad road leading to the wide gate, and eventual destruction.
The right path, the path to finding God, leads to a narrow gate. It is not always easy, and what society is offering can seem the more attractive choice at times. It takes courage to ward off temptation. You will feel alone, as if swimming against the tide, but the pay-off is worth the effort. If we keep at it, the narrow gate will open to eternal life. In the meantime, Pope Francis tells us our efforts are “…good for the heart.”