Passport Control

Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7).

Ancient cities were surrounded by walls, with a small narrow gate allowing entry. It was a practical measure, ensuring protection for citizens in ancient societies that could be violent and aggressive.

What happens when you open the gate and walk through it? You enter a “new world of adventure,” unknown until now. Think “passport control” as you enter a foreign country.

In all fields of human endeavour, one has to maintain focus in order to excel in a “new world of adventure.” Following Christ is no different. We have to leave some things behind, open the gate, walk through it and so enter the world that Christ inhabits. Suddenly all becomes meaningful and full of joy. In particular, our relationships come out of the “shadows” into his wonderful “light.”

St. Benedict (480-547) notes this spiritual dynamic in his Rule. He speaks of “amending our vices and preserving our charity.” In this way, we enter via the narrow gate. And by confronting our bad behaviour and attitudes and by really trying to love others, our heart expands. We really do enter a “new world of adventure.”

So, it turns out that the narrow gate once thought of negatively, is perhaps one of the most uplifting metaphors of Jesus. We just have to think about it a little.

Amen.

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