Rom 8:26-30; Ps 13:4-6; Lk 13:22-30
We desperately need light for our eyes. Without light our eyes are useless. We ask for and are given just enough light to continue our journey of faith, day-by-day, step by step. When God gives us light we can see aright; every other light is darkness. The Psalm leads us to pray for light so that we may not sleep in death. Originally, this prayer was for life in this world; life was victory over the enemy. However, the sleep of death may well be more profound than mortal death. The sleep of death could also mean the sleep of one who is blind to the truth. Indeed, our only real enemy is the prince of darkness himself, who wants to overcome us and will rejoice at our downfall. We, who trust in the mercy of the LORD, pray that our hearts rejoice in his salvation. We long to sing the song of salvation, “He has been good to me.” Saint Paul teaches the believers in Rome that this song can arise only from hearts full of the Holy Spirit, “because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” Saint Luke makes it clear that the Lord Jesus expects those who knock at the gate of heaven to have an intimate relationship with him. It’s not enough to have feasted with him or heard him teaching. We must be united with him; we must be one with him in heart, mind, and strength. This union with the Light from Light transforms us into the light for which we pray. Indeed, we become the light for all who see to walk in faith.
Saint Paul continues his catechesis about the Holy Spirit. We have a radical need for the Spirit because we are weak and do not know how to pray, as we ought. Not that we have not learned the Lord’s Prayer, not that we have not prayed the psalms, we have prayed, but our deepest need can only be expressed by the Spirit with inexpressible groaning. What is this deepest need that lies at the depths of our hearts? Is it not the need to be glorified, justified, and called? Called to be one with Christ Jesus, justified in his precious blood, glorified in the power of his resurrection. It is the transforming union for which we long, for which we pray according to God’s will. Once we live and move and have our being in the Lord we cease to even desire sin; indeed we long only to do God’s will. At this moment we are conformed to the image of the Son of God, and He has become the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. This is the dignity of our life here in the church and the glory fully revealed of our life in heaven. For this, we have been predestined. Indeed, we know our divine summons because we see by the light of faith that all things work for the good for those who love God.
It seems that the crowds were asking the Lord Jesus the wrong question. They were concerned with the number of those who would be saved. Perhaps they thought, if there is a greater number, then I might have a chance to be in that number. The Lord Jesus taught them like Saint Paul taught his followers. Strive to enter through the narrow gate is not unlike strive to let the Holy Spirit pray in you. Why would the Lord Jesus teach us to enter through the narrow gate? Perhaps, this gate is narrow because there is no reason for it to be wide. There are not huge crowds of people clamoring to carry the cross, to deny self, to lay down their lives in loving service. We hardly spend time competing with one another to out do each other in charity. We cannot take for granted that we are going to pass through the narrow gate. We cannot take for granted that the Lord Jesus will recognize and welcome us with open arms. We may even be surprised to see the last coming first and the first coming last.