Walking the Wide Road of Misuse of Matthew 7:13–14 and Luke 13:22–25

RJ Carr
7 min readJan 11, 2023
Photo via CanvaPro

Many homilists and other Catholic and Christian preachers greatly misuse the Parable of the Narrow and Wide Road leading to the respective sized gates (Matthew 7: 13–14) or doors (Luke 13:22–25).

Near the end of the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew, Jesus exhorts his listeners to walk the narrow road leading to the narrow gate for wide is the road that leads to perdition. The obvious point of the road is that it is less used.

Unfortunately, many preachers use it in the context of sin. So, the sinful person will walk the wide road to the respective gate and be one of an overwhelming multitude proverbially traveling it. If you study this passage carefully, you will see little having to do with this common interpretation. In fact, in Matthew, the phrase follows Jesus' admonition to live the Golden Rule — treating others as we would want to be treated. This is the key to entering the narrow gate. In Luke, it is the rich who cannot enter through the narrow door.

Luke places the phrase in the answer to the question will many be saved. Jesus says to strive to enter through the narrow door without defining what that means. This scenario follows a passage of healing a crippled woman on the Sabbath where the pharisees condemn him. So, to enter through the narrow gate, we must treat others respectfully, with human dignity and in charity in the spirit but not necessarily by the letter of the law.

Living Christ is more than simply not sinning

There is a wide chasm between living the law and the prophets and simply not committing sin. In fact, it is my teaching that the latter is actually a form of paganism. Many atheists live the last seven of the ten commandments. Many may actually live them better than some Christians including Catholics.

Some of our people believe the way to go to Heaven is to be good people but they have no context of how such a person lives. So, they see being good as the culture defines it.

Does a good person by definition give away all possessions and live in the desert? Or does a good person march for a cause? Or does a good person simply live life and mind their own business? Just what does that phrase mean? How does…

--

--