(CNS photo/Vatican Media)

August 21, 2022

Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading before leading the Angelus, Pope Francis encourages us to “strive to enter through the narrow door,” meaning that to enter into God’s life and salvation, we need to pass through Him, to welcome Him and His Word.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled the day’s Gospel reading for the Sunday liturgy when someone asks Jesus if only a few people will be saved and He responds, “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Lk 13:24).  This image of a narrow door could scare us, implying that only a few elect or perfect can be saved, the Pope suggested; but, he said, Jesus confirms that people from everywhere will “recline at table in the kingdom of God,” thereby affirming that while the door is narrow, it is open to everyone.

Entering into God’s life

The Pope explained that in Jesus’ time, the image of the narrow door most likely referred to a reality to which His contemporaries could relate: At night, the gates of a city would be closed except for the smallest door, which was then the only way to enter and return home. Jesus in the Gospel says: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (Jn 10:9). The Pope said in this way Jesus tells us that to “enter into God’s life, into salvation, we need to pass through Him, to welcome Him and His Word. ”

“Just as to enter into the city, someone had to “measure” the same as the only remaining open narrow door, so too the Christian door is a life whose “measure is Christ”, founded and modeled on Him. This means that the rule of measure is Jesus and His Gospel – not what we think, but what He says to us.”

Living one’s life in love and service

Going through the narrow door means to belong to Christ and follow Him, the Pope explained, and to live one’s life in love, service, and giving oneself as Jesus did, who passed through the narrow door of the Cross. Entering into God’s way for our life calls on us to overcome selfishness, pride and arrogance, and laziness “in order to pass through the risk of love, which even involves the cross.”

Daily acts of love

The Pope offered a number of concrete examples of what passing through the narrow door implies, those concrete, daily acts of love people strive to offer: parents who dedicate themselves to their children, often at great sacrifice; those who serve the elderly, the poorest or most vulnerable; those who keep on working committedly despite the obstacles; those who suffer because of their faith but who continue to pray and love; those who respond to evil with good, finding the strength to forgive and the courage to begin again.

“These are only a few examples of people who do not choose the wide door of their own convenience, but the narrow door of Jesus, of a life spent in loving. The Lord says today that the Father will recognize them much more than those who believe they are already saved but who are actually “workers of evil” (Lk 13:27).”

Which side are we on?

We should reflect on our own lives, the Pope suggested, and ask if we think only of ourselves and our own interests, or if we truly strive to enter the narrow door of the Gospel that makes us able to welcome the true life that comes from God. He prayed that Our Lady, who followed Jesus all the way to the Cross, may help us to measure our life with Him so as to enter into the fullness of eternal life.

By Vatican News staff writer

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