The Word of God

Climbing Toward The Gate

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 13, 2019

George Mallory was the famed mountain climber who may have been the first person ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. In the early 1920s, he led a number of attempts to scale the mountain, eventually being killed in the third attempt in 1924. Before that last and fatal attempt he had said “I can’t see myself coming down defeated.” Mallory was an extraordinary climber, and nothing would force him to give up. His body was found in 1999, well preserved by the snow and ice, 27,000 feet up the mountain, just 2000 feet from the peak. He never gave up nor looked for the easy way to the top. In that same year, a banquet was held for the team that accompanied George Mallory. A huge picture of Mt. Everest stood behind the banquet table. It is said that the leader of the group stood to be applauded, and with tears streaming down his face, turned and looked at the picture: “I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt Everest, you defeated us once; you defeated us twice; you defeated us three times. But Mt. Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger but we can.” In 1953 two climbers, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzig Norgay, reached the top. “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

Today, Jesus tells us to enter through the narrow gate. This gate path could mean following the Lord Jesus when it is convenient or inconvenient.  It could mean doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Entering through the narrow gate means following Christ, not just sometimes or part way, but completely. It means we persevere and sacrifice and surrender even how we think things should unfold even in the face of disappointments and sadness. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” God never said that the climb up the mountain of life would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worth everything.

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