Tuesday's Gospel: The Path Leading to Life

Gospel for Tuesday in the 12th Week of Ordinary Time, and commentary.

Gospel (Mt 7:6.12-14)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.

“Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

“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.”


This Gospel passage is divided into three sayings. To understand the first, we need to look at what immediately precedes it. Jesus has just told the apostles that they should not judge others: “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged” (Mt 7:2). Our Lord now makes clear that a difference exists between judgment and discernment.

The disciple must carry out an apostolate with everyone without exception. But some people not only refuse to listen: they ridicule the Gospel and utter blasphemies. If someone has no other purpose than to mock the Gospel and its teaching, Jesus says, the disciple can use his discernment and focus his energies on others. There is no shortage of people who need to hear the Gospel. Discernment is, to some extent, given to each Christian, and enables the disciple to reach those who will be most receptive to our Lord’s message.

In the second saying Jesus refers to the previous point of not judging others, and shows how it fits into a broader framework of ethics: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (Mt 7:12).

The third and final saying, “enter by the narrow gate” (Mt 7:13), is a warning to the uncaring that perdition is a real possibility, and at the same time it is an invitation to his disciples. In the words of Pope Francis: “The Lord offers us many opportunities to be saved and to enter through the door of salvation. We have to accept the opportunity for salvation. Because at a certain moment, the master of the house will rise and shut the door (cf. Lk 13:25), as the Gospel reminded us. But if God is good and loves us, why would he close the door at a certain point? Because our life is not a video game nor a television soap opera. Our life is serious and our goal is important: eternal salvation” (Pope Francis, Angelus Address, 21 August 2016).

Andrew Soane