In the first reading today from Genesis 13, we see that Abram was a very rich man. But he was also very generous. So generous that he allowed his nephew, Lot, to have his first choice of the land that the Lord was giving them. He said, “If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.” As Lot’s elder, Abram didn’t have to do this. But his generosity and righteousness shone through.
In today’s Gospel passage from Matthew 7, Jesus gives the Golden Rule. He then tells His disciples, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
People generally like to take the path of least resistance. That’s why lotteries are so popular. Why work hard and expend so much energy when you can have it all with no effort? Jesus lets us know that heaven is not like that. There is no magic ticket. Those who choose ease and comfort and self-gratification in this life have already received their reward. Entering through the narrow gate takes effort. But we know that Jesus IS that narrow gate. We know that we can only get to heaven by taking up our cross and following after Him. And that can only be done with strength supplied by God.
Father, forgive us for those times when we take the path of least resistance. Teach us perseverance, especially when times get tough. Amen.