What color lipstick are you using?


The Readings for Tuesday in the 12th Week of Ordinary Time (B2)

Intrate per angustam portam : quia lata porta, et spatiosa via est, quae ducit ad perditionem, et multi sunt qui intrant per eam. Quam angusta porta, et arcta via est, quae ducit ad vitam : et pauci sunt qui inveniunt eam! 
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. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn rather famously said :the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being” indicating that we each must make choices that are good or evil – and these, in turn build a community of those choices. In like manner, the “Broad Gate” and the “Narrow Gate” stand either side of every Church in which one can enter.

The broad gate clues us in with “Just because I’m here, I’ve made it…” and it allows us to look down our nose (or our communion spoon, as the case may be) at those who are not here with us. The broad gate assures us that there may be sinners somewhere in the world, but they are not here. Other communities have problems with abuse, sex, phyletism, racism, money scandals, but not us. The broad gate causes us to complain about liturgy constantly, to put ourselves over the Church in all the ways we can (I think Father would do so much better if he stopped offering the TLM it’s so rigid. I think the Novus ordo is heretical.) The groad gate invites us to judge our brothers and sisters, often sitting in the pew, just before Liturgy. OMG look what she is wearing! I can’t believe they let him be a reader. Gosh but that voice doesn’t belong in our choir. The broad way invites us to go a la carte on the menu when the whole Wedding Banquet is prix fixe (and already paid for). I like the Church, but not that bit there… I’m Catholic, but…

Please understand I list these because I’ve done these.

The broad gate is opposed by the narrow gate, the latter has only one thing to say: Lord, have mercy on me.

In verse 6 when Jesus says don’t give the holy things to the dogs, don’t give your pearls to the pigs… he’s talking about those of us who stand beyond the Broad Gate looking down on the pious who can’t seem to find their way into all the peace and freedom we enjoy in our wide pathways and our brilliant super highways. We are the dogs, the swine who destroy the holy things. Sure, it would be easy to say, “Dogs are infidels who never make it into the Church and Swine are the schismatics who break away.” But we are the dogs. We are the swine. If we assure ourselves of our safety by virtue of our presence in the church, or our lucky Pious Family Heritage then we need to go to the vet to have our beam like pride removed.


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Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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