The Narrow Door
Ordinary 21 Year C
A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
St. Luke 13: 22 — 30
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.
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.
….. “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.
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!
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.”
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!
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Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature
(Mark 16: 15)
Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and in doing so,
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
2 There will always be those who claim they are members of the Household
Yeshua Messiah will gather whomsoever He chooses to enjoy the privileges
3 It is a serious error to demonise a minority of Pharisees in Our Lord’s time
Let us pray for one another to wake up to the deceptions of this world in
Luke 13: 22 to 30
Ordinary 21 Year C
22 9 He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and
23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will
25 After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then
26 And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you
27 Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where (you) are from.
28 And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see
29 And people will come from the east and the west and from the
30 For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible,