Thursday, August 30, 2007


It is revealing that Jesus should speak of a narrow door and that He should emphasize the effort needed to pass through that door. (Luke 13:22-30)

He wants to tell us that one does not enter into the Kingdom "without the effort". It is not enough for one to present oneself in order to be admitted. One does not enter into the Kingdom by just breezing in like a person strolling in the moonlight. On the contrary, a certain effort and struggle is required. Even though the door is open, it nevertheless remains narrow.

Jesus speaks of the narrow door. But in reality, the metaphor should be reversed: it is not God's kingdom that has a narrow door, it is our hearts. And God, who is pure love cannot enter them without the narrowness of our selfishness having to suffer in the process.

To reverse the image of the narrow door as used by Jesus; in order to enter into the Kingdom of Love, we should have to first get rid of the layers of self-complacency and love of comfort, to allow the passage through the narrow door to rub and break off all the things which, is us, still resist love. This is why entrance into the Kingdom always require struggle and suffering.

This tearing off, for most people, takes place in the daily routine of their human lives. The thousand little frustrations must be accepted to lead a good married life, a good family life, or a good professional life. The unsung little acts of heroism needed in order to serve others, to forget oneself, to give priority to the common good; all this will normally free and lighten us from ourselves, unburden us, fit us to the narrow door.

Jesus warns us, not only that the door is narrow, but also that it opens from within and that it will not remain open indefinitely. This is a figurative way of telling us that God alone decides about admission into the Kingdom. It will not be open indefinitely, for a day will come when the final judgment will have been made and destinies irrevocably determined. It is the moral decision of each person which will make that, when he presents himself at the door of the Kingdom, he will find the door open or shut.

Do I follow Jesus in good times and in bad times? Do I go with Him not only through the wide door but also through the narrow door? As we confront these questions in our quest to solve the problems of daily life, one thing is definite; we can be confidently assured of receiving God's help through wide-open compassionate kindness and Divine Mercy of His Sacred Heart.

Father Ben Sim, SJ
Cebu City, Philippines