Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: making his way to Jerusalem, will only a few be saved, narrow gate, strong enough, last who will be first
To the point: Entering the narrow gate to salvation is not guaranteed by privilege or tradition (those who perceive themselves to be first), but guaran- teed by openness to the in-breaking of the Messiah (those who perceive themselves to be last). The gate is narrow because the way is difficult—journeying with Jesus leads to Jerusalem and the cross. The strength needed to persist on this journey comes from reclining “at [his] table in the kingdom of God.” It comes from eating and drinking the messianic Food with the Messiah.
Connecting the Gospel …
... to the first reading: Isaiah prophesies that salvation is offered to all peoples (“from all the nations”). The gospel makes clear a condition for salvation: those who desire salvation must journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and accept all this entails.
... to experience: Our society tends to declare, “numero uno!” We tend to want to be first, to find things easy, to have everything handed to us on a silver platter. This gospel says exactly the opposite. We are not first—Christ is. Things will not be easy—the road to salvation is narrow, difficult, demanding. Every- thing will not be handed to us—rather, we are asked to hand ourselves over.
**From Saint Louis University