Today, Jesus makes us three important recommendations. We shall, however, pay attention to the last one: «Enter through the narrow gate» (Mt 7:13), in order to attain the plenitude of Life and be always happy, while avoiding going to perdition and be forever doomed.
If you look around you and around your own existence, you will easily verify that whatever is worthwhile is costly, and that all things having a certain level are subject to the Master's recommendation: as the Church Fathers have said with wisdom, «by way of the Cross all mysteries contributing to our salvation are fulfilled» (St. John Crysostom). In her deathbed, an elderly woman who had suffered much in her life, told me once: «Father, if you do not savour the Cross, you do not desire Heaven; if there is no Cross there is no Heaven».
All this contradicts our falling human nature, even though it has been redeemed. For this reason, in addition to facing up to our natural tendencies, we shall have to go against the tide because of our environmental upbeat founded on materialism and the uncontrolled relish of our senses, that —at the price of not-being— long for getting more and more each time, to be able to enjoy the maximum pleasure.
When we follow Jesus —who said «I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life» (Jn 8:12)—, we realize that the Gospel does not condemn us to a boring and unhappy life in darkness; on the contrary, it promises and gives us the true happiness. We only have to review the Beatitudes and look at those who, having entered through the narrow gate, have been very happy and have made others happy too, while obtaining —for having believed in and waited for He who never let us down— the reward of self-denial: «Many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life» (Lk 18:30). The Virgin's “yes” is accompanied by humility, poverty, the Cross, but also by the prize to fidelity and generous surrender.