A man I used to work with is a mountain climber. He started when he was young and because of his athletic ability and determination he achieved an incredible goal: he climbed to the top of Mt. Everest…the tallest mountain in the world.
When he talked about his experience, he mentioned something that has always stayed with me and was brought to mind by our Gospel reading today. He said that while making the final ascent to the peak, the trail was very narrow and icy. He said that every step took a lot of concentration and if he got distracted, he could slip and fall to his death. His training and mental focus were rewarded when he reached the peak and he brought back some incredible stories and pictures.
Our Gospel reminds us today that the path to eternal life follows a constricted road and through a narrow gate. These are good metaphors for the challenges and heartbreak we encounter in life. Faith and willpower are required to maintain the focus we need to overcome tragedy and stay on the narrow path. Unlike the mountain climber, the risk of slipping off the path is not so obvious. In fact, slipping off the narrow path is made very easy with the temptation of sin in our world. Unfortunately, the path of least resistance will lead us straight into the ditch.
As we plan our day, let us think through the steps we will make and where the road may take us. Consider stops throughout the day to maintain our focus with prayer or fasting.
Can we help each other to stay on course? Like the mountain climber, tying ourselves to another person can provide an anchor and we know God is especially with us wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in His Name.
Let us pray for the faith and focus we need to stay on track today and help someone else to do the same.
-Deacon Steve Whiteman