We are all familiar with Our Lord’s advice that we should enter through the narrow gate. We have heard how in ancient walled towns all the coming and going seemed to be through the town’s massive town gateway. The wide road runs right through it, and the town’s leaders had benches in the gateway where they sat, conferring on the town’s business.
Known only to long time residents was a narrow guarded gate at an almost inaccessible spot hidden behind brush on the far side of town.
Wise residents were aware of how when bandits or disease was all about, the town leaders might pull the main gates firmly closed until the danger passed, even though it might take days.
People caught out on such bad days could find their lives in grave danger. To avoid such an eventuality wise men would for long build up the habit of seeking to enter through the narrow gate, and getting to be known by the gatekeeper.
Of course, Jesus was speaking metaphorically. Building up the habit of going around to the narrow gate could mean getting your work done in advance, or having extra sleep and exercise to be in shape for unexpected hard times, or being kind to everyone to avoid ever being without a friend in tough times.