CIRCLE I: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: SALVATION; FREE BUT NOT A ROSE GARDEN
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Lk. 13:22-30) Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus told someone who was interested in salvation that it will not be easy. He described it as entering a narrow gate. The way through the narrow gate is full of challenges and attempts to deflect us from going through it. Jesus did not promise a rose garden in this life.
In fact, He gave an example with His own life. He humbled Himself, was born in a manger, lived in a simple family, suffered, died in an excruciating and scandalous death on the cross, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. It cannot be narrower than the gate Jesus passed through. On the other hand, the other gate is so wide. Temptations are abundant and attracts us to an easy life.
Eternal life was merited when we were baptized. The sacrament freed us from original sin and made us heirs of the Kingdom. But life goes on and we continue to live here on earth. It is our task to maintain our holiness. The devil will continue to temp us and lure us to sin. The devil usually appeals to our senses. Thus, it temps us with riches, pleasures, power, fame, and anything worldly and selfish. Like what the serpent did to Adam and Eve, it will convince us to turn away from God and believe that we are being stopped from gaining wisdom and power by an insecure God.
I had heard a lot of people claiming how hard it is now to be good. Worse, it seems that one is rewarded for being bad and punished for being good. Many are aware that a lot of businessmen are willing to pay taxes honestly. But they are not allowed to do so by some corrupt revenue officers. They end up paying not the right taxes and giving grease money to the government agent. In the process, the government loses so much funds. We hear the same complaints and accounts in other government offices. The road to holiness is indeed narrow while the road to hell is wide. When you want to be honest and good, you will be made to pass through the eye of the needle. When you agree to the ways of corrupt officials, your path will be easy and smooth. (Note: This is not an indictment of the whole government. This is a reality which many of us know. The system is flawed and corrupted by people who want to make easy money. Jesus was on target in His statement.)
But we will never stop trying to be good. We fall at times. The lure of the world is very attractive to us. Our senses are satisfied. We experience fleeting joys and contentment. But we need to be wise. Our present state does not give us even an iota of what is at the other side of the narrow door. At most, we will only have a foretaste of eternal life. Not even the whole world is enough.
The rich man was wrong in hanging on to his riches than to follow Jesus and attain eternal life. In the same way, the temptations, deflections, challenges, and sufferings are not enough to dissuade and stop us from entering the narrow door. It is worth it. The martyrs and Jesus showed it to us. To a determined seeker of eternal life, no door is too narrow.
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