Menu
A+ A A-

Papal Angelus Sunday, 26 August 2007

  • POPE BENEDICT XVI

Dear Brothers and Sisters, today's liturgy presents to us enlightening yet at the same time disconcerting words of Christ.


GateFieldOn his last journey to Jerusalem someone asked him: "Lord, will those who are saved be few?"  And Jesus answered: "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able" (Lk 13: 23-24).

What does this "narrow door" mean?  Why do many not succeed in entering through it?  Is it a way reserved for only a few of the chosen?

Indeed, at close examination this way of reasoning by those who were conversing with Jesus is always timely: the temptation to interpret religious practice as a source of privileges or security is always lying in wait.

Actually, Christ's message goes in exactly the opposite direction: everyone may enter life, but the door is "narrow" for all.  We are not privileged.  The passage to eternal life is open to all, but it is "narrow" because it is demanding: it requires commitment, self-denial and the mortification of one's selfishness.

Once again, as on recent Sundays, the Gospel invites us to think about the future which awaits us and for which we must prepare during our earthly pilgrimage.

Salvation, which Jesus brought with his death and Resurrection, is universal.  He is the One Redeemer and invites everyone to the banquet of immortal life; but on one and the same condition: that of striving to follow and imitate him, taking up one's cross as he did, and devoting one's life to serving the brethren.  This condition for entering heavenly life is consequently one and universal.

In the Gospel, Jesus recalls further that it is not on the basis of presumed privileges that we will be judged but according to our actions.  The "workers of iniquity" will find themselves shut out, whereas all who have done good and sought justice at the cost of sacrifices will be welcomed.

Thus, it will not suffice to declare that we are "friends" of Christ, boasting of false merits: "We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets" (Lk 13: 26).

True friendship with Jesus is expressed in the way of life: it is expressed with goodness of heart, with humility, meekness and mercy, love for justice and truth, a sincere and honest commitment to peace and reconciliation.

We might say that this is the "identity card" that qualifies us as his real "friends"; this is the "passport" that will give us access to eternal life.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we too want to pass through the narrow door, we must work to be little, that is, humble of heart like Jesus, like Mary his Mother and our Mother.  She was the first, following her Son, to take the way of the Cross and she was taken up to Heaven in glory, an event we commemorated a few days ago.  The Christian people invoke her as Ianua Caeli, Gate of Heaven.  Let us ask her to guide us in our daily decisions on the road that leads to the "gate of Heaven."

dividertop

Acknowledgement

BenedictXVIPope Benedict XVI. "Papal Angelus Sunday, 26 August 2007." Libreria Editrice Vaticana (August 26, 2022).

Reprinted with permission from Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Image credit: Photo by Lomig on Unsplash.

The Author

Benedict73smBenedict72Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est,The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2022 Libreria Editrice Vaticana
back to top