Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Accessing the Narrow Gate

Tirad Pass is a strategic mountain gap in the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon. Here took place an important battle between 60 Filipino guerilla led by a 24-year old Brigadier General Gregorio del Pilar and the American forces. Pursued by more than 500 American soldiers led by General Peyton March, the Philippine Revolutionary President General Emilio Aguinaldo retreated into this mountainous terrain. To ensure his troops’ escape, he ordered the narrow pass to be defended at all cost. The hand-picked defenders were in trenches and stone barricades when the battle began on December 2, 1899. But unknown to them, an Igorot traitor led the Americans to their rear that routed the guerillas to their death. Among the casualty was Del Pillar who wrote in his diary: “I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. I am doing everything for my beloved country. There is no greater sacrifice.”
 
Our gospel shows Jesus pursuing his crucial journey towards Jerusalem, the place of his crucifixion. Along the way, he answers a key question about salvation: “how many will be saved?” A pious Jew believed that salvation was guaranteed, provided they kept the law. In other words, circumcision was enough basis to have a visa for the Kingdom of Heaven. But Jesus declares the need for constant fidelity and vigilance throughout our lives. He reminds us that, even though God wants us to be saved, we need to work at it. Salvation is never automatic based on nationality or religion. It is a pure gift from a God who is just and merciful. We simply need to “strive to enter through the narrow gate.” 
 
The narrow gate is the image of the difficulty and the sacrifice one has to endure to pursue heaven. Entry into the Kingdom of God demands dedication, obedience and real love. The influential St. Bernard of Clairvaux once refuted the controversial Paris theologian Peter Abelarde who suggested that Christ died not to pay a penalty but merely to demonstrate God’s love. The Abbot, instead, declared: “I was made a sinner by deriving my being from Adam; I am made just by being washed in the blood of Christ and not by Christ’s words and example.” In other words, a real sharing in the pain and suffering of Christ in Calvary, in faith and love, also guarantees our entry into the Kingdom. Hence, there is no greater sacrifice. 
 
Prayer:Lord, let me keep running toward the Kingdom by striving to enter through the narrow door of dedication, obedience and love for you.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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