Today’s Reading: Matthew 7:13-20
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.
The narrow gate: An image with various associations.
(1) Cities surrounded by a fortified wall had gates to permit access. Main gates were wide and tall enough for caravans of people and animals; smaller gates permitted only pedestrian traffic. Jesus envisions the many passing with ease through a main gate. The few must exert greater effort to enter a narrow pedestrian gate (cf. 22:14).
(2) The Jerusalem Temple had a series of gates that prohibited entry for the unqualified; only a privileged few had close access to God. This teaching of the “two ways” is common in the OT (cf. Deut 30:15-20; Ps 1; Wis 5:6-7; CCC 1696).