St. Paul has some great instruction for the family in today’s first reading from Ephesians 6. I think this line is particularly needed in our world today: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.” Fathers truly need our prayers today!
In the Gospel reading from Luke 13, Jesus is asked if only a few will be saved. He replies, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” How does that apply to us? Do we have to be physically strong to enter heaven? Of course not. Does this mean that we are to rely on our own strength? No, but there is an element of that, I believe.
I think there are two ways that we have to be strong. First, we must be strong enough to let go of our pride. We have to acknowledge that we are weak. Paradoxically, our strength comes from admitting our weakness. Second, we must be strong enough to always hold fast to hope in Christ; we must never fall into despair. Perhaps a good way to think of it is like this: to be saved, we must always be exercising our trust muscles!
Father, give us the strength to enter through the narrow gate. May our trust in you always be as firm as a bodybuilder’s six-pack! Amen.