Today’s reading: Luke 13
Today we read one of the most difficult verses in scripture.
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
It’s difficult because no one wants to believe that only a few will be saved – implying most will be lost. This truly is a frightening idea. How are we to be sure that we are among those that are saved. I think there are two key points that must be made.
First, notice the verse says “STRIVE” to enter through the narrow door. It doesn’t say you have to be successful. The “many who seek to enter” are not necessarily those who strived in life. In fact, I think it is more likely that they are those that did not strive in life and now seek to enter but did not know the Lord in life. That is why Jesus responds, “‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from.”
Second, I think the teaching of Pope Emeritus Benedict on this is important. Essentially, he says that there are few who will be saved directly from life here on earth and go straight into heaven. He says that most people strive to be good but do not reach perfection in this life. That’s not surprising and for them, the judgment will bring an encounter with the Lord that will purge them of their attachments to sin. Thus, he implies that only a few will enter through the narrow door of earthly life but, God willing, much more will ultimately be saved.
Tomorrow: Luke 14