The Greek in "strive to enter through the narrow gate" speaks to us of struggle and desire.
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The Gospel for this Sunday is here.
1.Co-workers of the Gospel
Jesus leaves no illusions. Those who are saved are not those who merely enroll in a religious community, but those who strive to live the Gospel and be with Jesus.
2. Key words
Someone asked Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
At the time of Jesus, there was a belief that salvation applied only to the Chosen People. That’s why someone listening to Jesus’ teachings asked the question.
Jesus responds, “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down at the table in the kingdom of God.”
Not only members of the Chosen People, but all people, regardless of their origin and place of residence, are called to salvation. The open door is a symbol of salvation available to all.
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate.”
The Greek word “agonizo” used in the original text literally means to fight, to struggle, to compete, to desire to achieve something. Our striving is to be total, to the maximum. Like athletes in a competition, we are to give our best to achieve salvation.
Salvation is a gift. None of us has earned it. It is brought to us by Jesus, but he expects our commitment, our personal effort, “agonizo.” Such a struggle takes a cost, but it is worth it.
“Depart from me, all you evildoers!”
One can toil for God, for truth and righteousness, or, on the contrary, toil for sin and injustice. The latter are what the original Gospel text calls “ergates adikias” – workers of injustice.
The sign of accepting salvation is to do good works, to be a co-worker for truth, goodness, and justice.
Not everything has been done for us. The attitude of “no matter what I would do, Jesus saved me anyway, so I don’t have to try” is illusory and dangerous.
God wants to give me salvation, but He wants my cooperation. St. Augustine said: “Work as if everything depended on you, but trust as if everything depended on God.”