The Narrow Gate – Msgr. Charles McGlinn

Msgr. Charles McGlinn’s Homily August 24, 2019

“I have a friend who told me about a childhood incident that happened in his life and apparently his mother was a real cleaning freak and this young man was not so much interested in that, so his mother ordered him to clean his room one day, so he went in and picked his stuff up off the floor and put it on the hangers or in the laundry bag and made his bed (had not been made for a long time) and even vacuumed the floor.  Well his mother came in and said, ‘That’s not good enough. Do it again!’ So the boy was really kind of frustrated. He had some other things to do that afternoon and so he picked up a broom and he said, ‘Mother, can I use this broom or are you planning on going somewhere?’ He didn’t tell me what happened next, but some parents are very strict with their children and some are a little more lenient, but all, most all really love their children and want the best for them don they?  We want the best for our kids. We want them to grow up happy, fulfilled. We want them to be joyful. We really do want the best for our children and that’s the way God is for us! He is our loving parent. He wants the best for you and for me. He wants the best for you and for me. He wants your happiness in this world, your fulfillment, your joyfulness, he wants that and he wants your salvation as well. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, ‘I have come in to this world that you might have life and that you might live it to the fullest!’  He wants the best for us. He wants us to live full and happy lives in this world and to be with him in the world to come. That’s why he came in to this world. That’s why he gave his life in agony on the cross to take away our sins, to purify us so that we might enter into that Kingdom of Heaven, to be with him forever. That is our ultimate destiny, our ultimate goal and we must keep that always in mind in living our mundane lives in this world. This is not our home. We are just here for awhile. Our true home is in Heaven and that’s where we are called, but you know, it’s not automatic is it?  Jesus gave us the gift of salvation, but it doesn’t automatically apply to us. He said to us today, ‘there is a narrow gate through which we must go.’ What is that narrow gate? That narrow gate is a life of love to love God to put him first in our lives and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s the narrow gate. It’s not the gate of self-indulgence. It’s not the gate of selfishness. It’s the gate of love and we are called to do that in our homes and in our families especially to show one another our love for them and to help them to love, to know how to love and it extends to our work place, our community, our school, we are to take care of one another and give glory to God.  Remember Jesus’ words about the last judgement. They’re found in Matthew, Matthew 25:31 where he says, ‘The King will come and he will separate the world into goats and sheep. The sheep he will place on his right, the goats on his left and he will say to them on his right come you beloved of my Father, accept the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world because I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and in prison and you visited me.’ And they will say to him, ‘When did we do this to you Lord? I don’t remember that.’ And he will say, ‘As long as you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me.’  To those on his left he will say, ‘Depart from me because i was hungry and you did not feed me. I was thirsty and you did not give me drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ And we will say, ‘When Lord did we not do this to you?’ And he will say, ‘as long as you didn’t do it to one of the least of my brothers or sisters, you neglected to do it to me.’ So my friends, that’s the criterion for life. That’s the narrow gate. It’s compassion. It’s putting ourselves out in self sacrifice for one another. It’s learning how to love, that’s the narrow gate. Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the light.’ Jesus is the narrow gate. Let us follow him.

I have a prayer I would like to share.  I entitled this prayer ‘The Narrow Gate’.

Your gate is narrow
Difficult, hard to get inside
While the gate is selfishness
And sin is very wide

Because your entrance means that
We must give compassionately 
And serve each other well each day
With loving generosity

It’s so easy to be selfish
and full of arrogance
But living egotistically
is really ignorance

Ignorance of the truth of life
The truth that makes us whole
Bringing us such happiness
Healing the hurting soul

The narrow gate means loving, Lord
Not giving in to hate
It means being one with you
You are the narrow gate”