Jesus instructs to not evangelize the evil and warns that many are damned. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can always strive to enter through the Narrow Gate and by building the Virtue of Prudence so he can ignore the evil and evangelize the receptive.
12th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Mt 7:6; 12-14
Continuing His Sermon on the Mount (v 7-11 omitted from today’s Liturgy), Jesus teaches how to put His Gospel into practice. Referring to the precious gift of the Gospel (“what is holy”, “pearls”), Jesus directs His disciples to not waste their efforts on the evil who viciously oppose His Gospel; elsewhere, He reiterates His direction to avoid proclaiming the Gospel to those with hard hearts who refuse to hear (Mt 13:14-15). Jesus condemns such ungrateful men using highly derogatory terms: “dogs” (considered annoying scavengers at that time) and “pigs” (unclean animals according to Jewish law) and prudently warns His disciples to avoid evil men who will seek an excuse to viciously attack.
After telling His disciples to follow His Golden Rule (“do unto others…”), a summary of the Law and the Prophets, Jesus reveals that Heaven, while available to all men, is only received by a few. The “narrow gate” refers to the high standard of faith and sacrificial love a man must demonstrate to be received into the Kingdom of Heaven, and the “way” to reach the gate is the difficult and courageous work of growing in faith and the pursuit of holiness, hard work which few men are willing to do. In contrast, the “wide gate” is the entry into Hell (“destruction”) and the “way” of selfishly rejecting God and wallowing in unrepentant sin, is easy.
Jesus’ warning of the narrow way (holiness) and the wide way (sin) is an either/or choice men must make to either pursue the Kingdom of Heaven or end up in Hell. This is the third time He repeated the warning about men’s eternal choice: treasures in Heaven/things that decay (Mt 6:19-21); men cannot serve God and mammon (Mt 6:24).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be warned by Jesus, the Divine Prophet, about the challenges of reaching Heaven: Divine Judge, Jesus bluntly Condemns the evil who reject His Gospel, using highly derogatory terms (dogs, pigs); Divine Prudence, He urges men to prudently avoid seeking to convert (giving what is holy; pearls) to those who are evil and unrepentant (dogs, swine), a confirmation that many evil men are not interested in, or worthy of, Heaven; the perfection of Diligence (a part of Temperance), Jesus reveals the somber Truth (a part of Justice) that few have the diligence and faith to aspire to holiness and be allowed entry into Heaven (the Narrow Gate) and that many will enter into destruction (Hell).
Strive to enter the Narrow Gate
Realize: Many men do not worry about sin or holiness, either not caring or believing the lie that everybody goes to Heaven. Jesus makes it absolutely clear that few enter through the Narrow Gate (to Heaven) and most go through the Wide Gate to destruction (Hell).
Believe: Reflect upon the Two Ways and Hell (CCC 1696, 1033-1037).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so I courageously face the choices I must make, I am inspired by You to choose to pursue Heaven, and seek Your constant help to do God’s Holy Will.
Ignore the evil and evangelize the receptive
Realize: As in the time of Jesus, today the evil (“dogs” and “pigs”) who stubbornly reject Jesus and His Gospel and revel in deadly sins against God are numerous; Jesus warns men not to waste effort on vicious evil people who reject Him.
Believe: Reflect upon Prudence (CCC 1806, 1833-1839).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Prudence, help me build the Virtue of Prudence so I may wisely observe, shrewdly judge, and focus my efforts on those You wish for me to evangelize.