Will Those Who Are Saved Be Few? | iPray with the Gospel
Someone said to Jesus, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able … There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out … behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
When they asked Jesus if those being saved were many or few, Jesus didn’t give a number, but a warning. It is not going to be easy. The door is narrow. Many will try to get through but will not be able. Jesus said it not to frighten His disciples, but to encourage them; just as a teacher who announces that there will be an exam is not scaring their pupils but encouraging them to study. If anyone feels threatened it is because he hasn’t studied.
Jesus’ warning is about those who are very confident that they will get through that narrow gate. As if we could buy the ticket to Heaven with ‘our own money’. With our holy lives we can ask God for the ticket but not pay for it. The ticket has been paid for by Jesus on the Cross. Heaven is a gift. You see? It is God who helps us to get through the narrow gate, but He needs our co-operation. What we can do is always small, but God needs that in order to help us to enter Heaven.
During this Year of Mercy we need to remind people that God is committed to seeing us in Heaven. He just needs our commitment to let Him do it. No one is allowed to despair. In St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, he reminds us that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). He wants with all His might, with all His Blood, with all His Heart to save everyone, but they have to want to be saved. Our mistakes don’t matter. Only His Mercy matters.
A catechist was explaining the story of Judas and how he hanged himself. Then he asked one of the children: -‘If you had betrayed Jesus, would you hang yourself?’ ‘Of course!’ replied the child to the astonishment of the catechist. ‘I would hang myself’, continued the child, ‘from the neck of Jesus to beg forgiveness!’
Mary, Mother of Mercy, help me to bring many to the gates of Heaven; Jesus will push them in.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).