Jesus answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough." Jesus reminds us with these words in the gospel of Saint Luke 13:22-30 today that the journey to heaven will not be an easy road, and is not assured us because we are Catholic Christians but it is only guaranteed to all those who work hard to attain it. So my dear friends, do not presume that you are sure of heaven because of your good deeds only or because you are a Catholic Christian rather continue to work hard every single day to be a better disciple of Christ, for as St. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5:8: "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Also do not forget what Jesus described to us as the condition for entering His kingdom in heaven in Luke 8:21 when He said, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice." Hence, fidelity to the word of God will help us enter heaven through the narrow gate as described in the gospel reading today and not just our acquaintance with Christ as Christians.

So how can we enter through the narrow gate to attain heaven? According to some Scripture scholars, when Jesus mentioned the "narrow gate" through which we must enter into God’s kingdom, He meant that we must exercise SELF-RESTRAINT and MORTIFICATION when we obey and keep His commandments. What is Self-Restraint? Self-restraint is a restraint imposed by oneself on one's own actions; some form of self-control. What is Mortification? Mortification is the action of subduing one's bodily desires, for a greater goal.

So my fellow Catholic Christians, if we truly want to enter the narrow gate and attain the kingdom of heaven, we have to practice self control by restraining our worldly actions or practices and by subduing our bodily desires for the greater glory of God. How? We can restrain our worldly actions or practices and subdue our bodily desires by:

Prayer - our conversation with God in which we adore Him, worship Him, praise Him, thank Him for all He does for us and ask Him for our needs, so as to prepare, strengthen and fortify ourselves to make it through the narrow gate.
Patience - our will, capacity or ability to wait or endure without complaint, so as to pass through the narrow gate and attain the kingdom of God.
Perseverance - our continued and persistent effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or the oppositions we face from the devil and his followers as we go through the narrow gate of life to attain heaven.
My brothers and sisters, let us strive to enter through the narrow gate to attain the kingdom of heaven as Jesus emphasized to us today in the gospel reading by our fidelity to the word of God through prayer, patience and perseverance, so that we can be the last who will be first, rather than the first who will become the last.