This homily was given at Our Lady of the Mountain Parish, Ashland, OR on the memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, June 21, 2022. The audio is available here.
Two paths lie open before us.
One is a wide road, easy to take.
The other is the way of extreme trust: a little trail beyond a narrow, old gate, which climbs straight up into the wilderness.
Hezekiah faced this very choice, surrounded by the armies of Assyria.
Surrender was the easy way out, but it would end in ruin just as surely as choosing to stand and fight.
Instead of the broad way of cowardly compromise or stubborn self-destruction, he chose the narrow way of trust.
Taunted by the enemy, tempted to disbelieve in God’s protecting care, still he went up to the temple of the Lord and prayed: “Save us!”
And his extreme trust in God saved him and his people.
We face the same choice whenever the enemy tempts us to take the easy way out rather than the narrow way of trust.
When bad news comes and we’re tempted to despair—do we believe the Devil, who whispers, “God doesn’t care about you. God won’t save you.”
Or do we cry out in faith, “Jesus, I trust in you! Save me!”
Today, at this Holy Mass, Jesus opens the narrow gate before us.
He says, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved.”
As we receive Him today in Holy Communion, we enter through the gate of trust and recommit to the little way that leads to life.
And on the last day, when we stand before Him in whom we have placed our trust, we will say with St. Paul and all the saints:
“I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”
And Jesus will say to us, with a brother’s kindness:
“Come, you blessed of my Father. Receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”