Of Gates and Pearls

Gate of the Mary Garden at the Passionist Monastery in Jamaica, NY

12th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday (Year II)

Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Ever since the gates of Eden closed, the children of Adam have been searching for the tree of life from every corner of the earth. The world was not abandoned to utter darkness, however; the “true light that enlightens every man… was in the world,” though dimly (John 1:9-10). Whatever is true, good and beautiful in every pre-Christian philosophy was a glimpse of that Light shining in the darkness. The intricate design of micro and macro galaxies in the universe sing the praises of the Creator.

The Light shines as through a peephole in a vast, dark room… the “narrow gate” of which Jesus spoke about in the Sermon on the Mount. Even after the Light “came to his own home… his own people received him not” (John 1:11). Few find the Cross palatable.

The ego-destroying seed of the Cross does not germinate easily. Sometimes scattered seeds are devoured immediately by birds. Other times, they fall on rocky or thorny soil and have difficulty taking root (Matthew 13:4-7). Jesus warned the disciples to discern the time, place, and condition of hearts before throwing their pearls lest they are trampled underfoot.

Between these two teachings about the narrow gate and the pearls, Jesus inserted the Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.” He who embodied the law of love perfectly, who was the narrow gate and the pearl, was finally trampled but not defeated. His life is our pattern: if we die with Christ, we will also live with him (Romans 6:8).

Mary, the Theotokos, wants to lead us safely by the hand through the narrow gate. She is our Mother.

-GMC

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