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AHC C The Narrow Door - Hebrew Catholics

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The Narrow Door

Ordinary 21          Year C

A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
www.hebrewcatholic.org.nz

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St. Luke 13: 22 — 30

 

Introduction

The incident occurring in our appointed text this week begins a new series of events on our Lord’s last journey towards Jerusalem. We see our Lord offering His unique message for the last time in the villages He visits. We also see Him striving to make every effort to reach every possible place where there may be someone who will listen. The rejection He often receives seems irrelevant. It is His total commitment to reach the spiritually hungry which shines out — and thus reveals Him as our role model in our efforts to be His disciples.

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Some Reflections On Our Texts

Verses 22 and 23

He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went
and making his way to Jerusalem.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them, …..

“Someone asked…..” — obviously it doesn’t matter who. Something has sparked off this enquiry about a familiar Old Testament theme of “the remnant.”

This, in our Lord’s mind, is a very speculative, academic consideration. He brushes it aside and focuses His listeners on a much more practical approach: not how many, but who!

As we walk through this Gospel message it will become obvious that the dangers highlighted in the brief account will continue to be relevant down to our own times, and beyond.

Verse 24

….. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many,
I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.

Jesus tells the group: “Try your best to enter by the narrow door.”

His words meant:

•    Make every effort
•    Struggle and strive
•    Exert concentrated strength
•    Strain every nerve ….. .

All of this, to ensure you get through the door — which by the way is not easy to pass through!

His listeners were well aware of His teaching style and understood Him to mean something like:

“Don’t waste your time or mine on useless arguments about
how many will or will not be saved. Get on with making sure
by hard work that you are safe yourself.”

The language used to record our Lord’s teaching implies that it will take every effort of body and soul to achieve this. That is the first condition He lays down.

Verse 25

After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open
the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where
you are from.’

Jesus goes on to give the second condition of those who will be saved: those who take action now! And, in an apparent hardline He explains why some miss out. They are too late. “Once the door has been closed, don’t expect to get in.”

Verses 26 and 27

And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and
you taught in our streets.’

Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where (you) are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’

People will claim the right to be accepted as “late entries”, explains Jesus, on the basis that the master knows them and has been close to them. But our Lord is quite decisive; they never really sought to be in an intimate personal relationship. So they can go away! They made their choice long ago. Now they have to live with it. His religion is not for the weak, the indecisive, and the effeminate!

Verse 28

And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the
kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.

Our account now takes a new turn. To His two conditions for gaining entry via the only door, Jesus adds a warning using dramatic Old Testament imagery.

“What frustration they will experience when they see the great Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Prophets of Israel, all present at the great banquet — and they have neglected to respond to the invitation when it was given and make their way to the great hall.”

Verses 29 and 30

And people will come from the east and the west and from
the north and the south and will recline at table in the
kingdom of God.

For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first
who will be last.”

Jesus then goes on to close the short lesson, warning that the places left empty at the banquet will be taken by “rank outsiders” from East, West, North and South.

It is important to keep the imagery intact. Out Lord is not talking of displacing any faithful person among his own people. He is referring to those who saw themselves as some sort of superior, virtually untouchable, spiritual elite who made a habit of parading their exclusive pedigree as a guarantee of preferential treatment. Jesus was always quick to dash to the ground such delusions of privilege and grandeur.

He ends this session with a typically brief pithy saying which has continued to echo down the

“There are those now last who will be first, and those now first ages:
who will be last.”

 

Conclusion

It seems very human that when people have every opportunity to equip themselves for an important event, they often neglect the chance, taking it for granted they will always be able to take it up when it suits them. Out Lord has made His point very clearly:

•    Take your spiritual life very seriously and make every effort to
      enter into full life through the door I provide.
•    Do it now! Be quick and decisive. Do not procrastinate and
      get distracted with confusing situations life serves up to you.

Jesus had laid down the groundwork for the Church to be always on guard to ensure the people are listening to Him (and not some self-appointed prophet) and making every effort to respond with fervour and alacrity! Unless His followers take Him at His word, they are likely to end up rejecting Him just as casually as some of His own people did.

 

This is a final departure call!

Shalom!

 

Further Reading

For those who would like a detailed study resource
on the readings for Sunday, please visit:

Agape Bible Study — Ordinary 21 ― Year C

If you require only the section on the Gospel reading,
just scroll down the page.

To view all the material on the Agape website please visit:

www.agapebiblestudy.com

This website is highly recommended:

 

Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature

(Mark 16: 15)

The real Jesus, is the real answer to the real needs of the world!

Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and in doing so,
remain close to Him. The following are only examples illustrating how you
can note the gems the Holy Spirit highlights for your on-going reflection.

The Narrow Door

 Ordinary 21     Year C          St. Luke 13: 22 — 30

1    It is very interesting how pre-occupation with who “will be saved” has
      remained a priority question for some people right through to our own day.
      Yeshua Messiah has no time for obsession with pedigree. Whenever He
      comes across it He counsels His followers to get on with doing what is
      commanded: not just broadcasting what they want others to see and
      hear — like a broken record. Deeds not words!

2    There will always be those who claim they are members of the Household
      of God when it suits them, yet show little respect, gratitude or devotion to
      God on a regular basis. Their compliance regarding love of God and
      humanity is minimum.

      Yeshua Messiah will gather whomsoever He chooses to enjoy the privileges
      of membership of God’s Household. Such privileges are for those who are
      focussed on preparing, as our reading indicates, for the Lord’s return and
      the perfection of His Kingdom at the close of this age.

3    It is a serious error to demonise a minority of Pharisees in Our Lord’s time
      and typecast them as those who are over-confident of their own virtue and
      assuredness of religious superiority. We can slip into the same rut, and
      this is precisely why Jesus highlights the danger of knowing it will always 
      be a problem the Church must resist.

      Let us pray for one another to wake up to the deceptions of this world in
      religious, economic and political matters. Huge numbers of people are
      being hoodwinked by scams and corruption in all of these spheres. This is 
      a final a final wake-up call! We need to keep a true concentrated focus on 
      Jesus and His Word we must pray for one another to remain free of these
      viral infections which can destroy our Faith, our Hope and our Love.

Shalom!

 Click here for a printable copy of these reflections

 

Luke 13: 22 to 30

Ordinary 21           Year C

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE

 

22       9 He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and
           making his way to Jerusalem.

23       Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He
           answered them,

24       “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will
           attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.

25       After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then 
           will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door
           for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are
           from.’

26       And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you
           taught in our streets.’

27       Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where (you) are from.
           Depart from me, all you evildoers!’

28       And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see 
           Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom
           of God and you yourselves cast out.

29       And people will come from the east and the west and from the
           north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of
           God.

30       For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first
           who will be last.”

 
9 [22-30] These sayings of Jesus follow in Luke upon the parables of the kingdom ( Luke 13:18-21) and stress that great effort is re quired for entrance into the kingdom ( Luke 13:24) and that there is an urgency to accept the present opportunity to enter because the narrow door will not remain open indefinitely ( Luke 13:25). Lying behind the sayings is the rejection of Jesus and his message by his Jewish contemporaries ( Luke 13:26) whose places at table in the kingdom will be taken by Gentiles from the four corners of the world ( Luke 13:29). Those called last (the Gentiles) will precede those to whom the invitation to enter was first extended (the Jews). See also Luke 14:15-24.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible,
revised edition (c) 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of
Christian Doctrine, Washington D.C. and are used by permission of the
copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible
may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from
the copyright owner.

 

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