Scripture: Gen13,2,5-18; Resp. Psalm: Ps15,2-5; Gosp. Accl.: Jn8,12; Gospel: Mt7,6,12-14
God blessed Abram in Canaan. God revealed Himself as a covenant, promise keeping God. Abraham became exceedingly rich in cattle, silver and gold. God rewarded Abram for listening and obeying. The blessing was however not limited to Abram. God also blessed Lot, Abram's nephew with flocks, herds and tents. God manifested Himself as One who raises from nothing to something, the Giver of good, unmerited gifts.
For the wary soul, a good gift like this should be taken with care because the evil one usually lurks around the corner to turn it against the receiver. This was the case between Abram and Lot. This new found prosperity led to a strife between the herdsmen of both of them about grazing areas. Abram resolved this prospective source of attrition by asking his nephew to choose which area he would prefer for his grazing.
Lot chose the best part of the land, the part that was well watered and that could sustain cattle. Abram was not displeased with his nephew's apparent greed at this choice and Lot separated from him. This incident however must have burnished Abram's image in Yahweh's sight. As a consequence, Yahweh told him to walk through the length and breadth of the land because He had given the whole land to him.
Abram was so blessed by Yahweh because of his single minded commitment to this God in whom he trusted. He walked without fault, did what was just, spoke the truth from his heart, did no wrong to his neighbour. For this and virtues that filled his noble soul, Abram was never shaken. He trusted totally in God.
Our Lord today teaches us that we should do to others what we would wish that they do to us. He told us to go through the narrow gate, the one that He Himself would point out to us, because the wide, easy ways of this world only lead to death and destruction. While only few pass through the narrow way, many on the other hand pass through the wide way. The narrow way leads to life.
The point of our Lord is clear: that we must struggle to enter the kingdom of God. The narrow way of course is a metaphor for the difficulties that are inherent in following the Lord who leads us to the kingdom. Our Lord is saying to us that to enter the kingdom is not a child's play: it is hard, requires commitment and great sacrifices.
These are the two ways that are available: the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death. Abram chose the way that leads to life. That choice came with serious consequences but he was completely undeterred. That narrow way is the one we too must choose. There will be difficulties. There will be sufferings, challenges and disappointments, but like Abram, we should not be deterred. Our God will not abandon us. Let us hold on to him.
Let us pray: God our Father, you sent us Jesus your Son to show us the way that leads to life. In His life, we see the way. Give us docile hearts to follow where He leads us and grant us eternal life at the end of our sojourn here on earth. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.