If there is any precious thing that God has ever given to us which we should value by all means, it is our life. It is so precious that God would not allow us to perish in our sins but sent His only Son to save us. What many people do not seem to understand is that life has a purpose, so we should live it with dignity and integrity.
In our world today, a lot of people are living like there is no consequence to their actions. They make poor choices and focus completely on material things. They pursue fleeting pleasure and fun; they do not think about the good of others and are not serious about spiritual things. Most of the time, we see Christians living this way also. For them religion and spirituality is only about the actions they perform like attending Sunday and daily masses, being busy in the different ministries in the Church, and making financial and material contributions. It is about what they do, not who they are. What matters for them is the Christian activities and not the Christian life. They are not bothered whether the way they live conforms to the faith they profess. Well, we may do what we do, and claim to be whatever we think we are, but if we are not living the life of the gospel, we are missing the point about the Christian faith.
In his teaching, Jesus calls our attention to what really matters. In Luke 13:24, he says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” What he is telling us is that life has a direction and it is only by taking the right direction that we can arrive at our destination. It happens that many people want to go to heaven but they do not want to enter by the narrow gate. They prefer the broad and pleasurable way. St Paul tells us that there is a difference between the narrow gate and the broad way. The letter to the Galatians tells us that the narrow gate is a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and it leads to life (Galatians 5:22-23). The broad way is a life of sin. It is a life of immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like (Galatians 5:19-21). Whoever follows this way is heading for death and destruction.
As I listen to the words of Jesus in the scriptures, I think of the way many people have locked themselves up in sin by seeking pleasure, living in immorality, being greedy and selfish, and being hateful and proud. They enslave themselves with drugs and drinks and unholy pleasure of sex outside marriage, and feel that those are the things that make life meaningful. Unfortunately, such lifestyles do not give anyone any happiness; they create chaos instead, and bring more sorrow and regret to the one who choose to live that way.
The greatest problem that is staring us in the face in the world today is ignorance or poverty of the mind. We often set about pursuing wrong values and chasing after the wind. The prophet Hosea says in Hosea 4:6, “My people perish for lack of understanding.” If we were to understand what makes life beautiful and what would lead us to peace and happiness in heaven, we would be making right choices and turning away from the evil that leads us to hell and destruction. Let us always listen to the call of Jesus and strive to enter through the narrow gate. Think of what he says in the gospel, that the first shall be last and the last first, and decide not to give up your place in the kingdom of blessings. What Jesus says in the gospel, I repeat to you: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.”
Oh that today, you listen to His voice, harden not your heart!