Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

A person who speaks using no “filter”, except their ego, to reflect on what words are chosen to best convey an emotionally charged message, usually ends up causing confusion and anger. A public leader with a huge audience can cause untold damage when that leader just speaks their mind, not thinking about the consequence of how they frame the message. When the leader of a powerful country speaks with no filter, it is bound to get ugly and very divisive.

Jesus once again teaches us a valuable way of living that isn’t easy: “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction. How narrow the road and constricted the way that leads to life.” This seems so counterintuitive because we tend to think that the road to life should be wide open, inclusive, not narrow. Is Jesús teaching us to be narrow minded? Hardly.

I think Jesus is teaching us to live our lives, involving words and actions, through a “filter” of discernment...gospel reflection. Everything in my life needs to be “funneled” through the prism of the Gospel, so that everything in my life speaks of Jesus and his way and truth and life. This is the “narrow way” leading to life. But we need to consistently use this filter of discernment to adjust our lives to the demands of the gospel.

When we live our lives and communicate our message without a filter of mature reflection grounded in prayer and a relationship with Christ, our words and actions become hollow. A leader stands in front of a church, amidst protests and racial divide, with a Bible in his hands, sternly holding that Bible, what message is being conveyed ? Impulsive actions during turbulent times rarely end well. And if this action was well thought out in prayer and reflection, what good was accomplished?

Living on the wide open road is easy because it is actually narrow minded and self serving. Why narrow minded? Because it’s “my way or the highway.” It is narrow because it can’t see other expressions or disagreements; it refuses to entertain any form of nuance or compromise.
When we live life THROUGH the narrow filter of the gospel, we discover a life that is wide open in choosing to love and sacrifice. This choice of life expands the mind and heart, opening us to a vision of humanity that just keeps growing. But when we live without any filter except our ego, our lives will lead to nowhere except an empty void.

Jesus’ Way, his “narrow way” is so much more beautiful because it always leads to life...and love.
What road are you on?

Fr. Frank