Staying on the Narrow Path

Sunday, August 21, 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

Readings: IS 66:18-21; PS 117: 1-2; HEB 12:5-7, 11-13; LK 13:22-30

Today’s readings on this Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time show us that it is not enough to be Christ’s disciples in name only. To be a real disciple, we must live for Christ every day and in every aspect of life. This kind of life takes strength and discipline.

We form a spiritual discipline by intentionally and consistently offering the Lord the best of our Time, Talent, and Treasure through the Christian way we live our life. These spiritual disciplines teach us to become ever more aware of God’s constant provision for us and they keep us on the narrow path towards the Kingdom of Heaven. The more we embrace this way of life, the more we can be “trained” by the Lord in the ways of true discipleship. Though difficult, these disciplines become a source of spiritual strength.

Our Lord Himself speaks of the difficult path to the Kingdom of Heaven in today’s Gospel passage from Luke. He is asked, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” Jesus responds, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Showing up for Mass on Sunday while living as if Christ is an afterthought the rest of the week does not make us disciples. What’s more, this approach to our faith is an unjust and unloving response to our good God who has given us all that we have and are.

Jesus does not want us to merely go through the motions of faith. He wants much more from us and for us. He wants to know us deeply and for us to get to know Him so that we become His holy disciples. This is not a burden; it is a privilege. But it does take discipline, the discipline of a fully committed Catholic Christian way of life.