Writer’s block was no stranger to John Steinbeck. Allegedly, while writing The Grapes of Wrath, he got stuck for six months searching for just the right word. The word he finally settled on was “strove.”
“The plants strove against the sun.”
In today’s gospel, Christ tells us to “strive to enter the narrow gate.”
And so we need to ask ourselves: Is that the word that best characterizes our Christian life – striving?
The Greek word translated as “strive” is “agonizomai“ [agg-uh-nihd-zoh-my]. Our English word agony comes from this Greek word. The Greeks used this word to describe the contests in their Olympic games. They also used it to describe hand-to-hand combat with an enemy. Other Bible versions translate the word used in this verse as “make every effort” and “try your hardest“.
Jesus is eagerly looking at us today, inviting us to break out of our comfort zones and strive to follow him more closely. We each have to examine our hearts and see where we have been falling into routine – where in our Christian lives we have been getting lazy?
Maybe you already know. But if not, here’s a suggestion.
We cannot strive with all our strength to follow Christ if we do not know Christ. This week, why not make the resolution to start striving to know Christ better? It can be done in many ways:
- Weekly Eucharistic adoration
- Joining a Bible study group at your parish
- Renewing your prayer life
- Reading a good book on the life of Christ or the lives of the saints
Whatever each of us decides to do, let’s make sure we decide to do something – depending not on our own strength, but on God’s grace.