Luke 13: 22-30
In today’s Gospel passage we are presented with a choice of three incidents to base our reflection on. The first is the story of The Narrow Door; the second retells the incident of the man who refuses to get up late at night to open his door to a late caller; and the third shows Abraham, Isaac and Jacob enjoying their time in the kingdom whilst those who think of themselves as being “saved” are left outside.
All three incidents are related but I have decided to concentrate on the first. Here we have Jesus making His way to Jerusalem and talking to His friends en route. He is asked if only a few will be saved. Jesus’s answer is enigmatic: He says, “Strive to enter through the Narrow Door because many will try to enter and will not be able.”
We know Jesus as a loving God who came to save us, so why is He saying some will try to enter but will not be able? As Christ’s followers, we often feel a sense of being “special”, of feeling we have exclusive rights to enter in. Jesus is trying to help His disciples to understand that we are not the only ones to be offered God’s saving mercy – even though many will fail to embrace that grace and the responsibility that comes with it – of sharing with others the same loving mercy that God has extended to us. Jesus teaches that the door is not as wide as we think if we are living self-centred lives. Who then can enter the Kingdom through this narrow door?
There are many Muslims, Jews, and members of other religious traditions and none, who will enter the kingdom. They may not be baptised, may not have received the other sacraments or been brought up to know and love Jesus as has been our privilege. So, we may ask, how can they enter through this narrow door? How can they be admitted to the Kingdom?
What Jesus is suggesting in this image of the “narrow door”, is that it is those who live by the ‘golden rule’ – doing unto others as they would be done by, loving their neighbours as themselves – who will make their way through. This is the key. These, in truth, are showing the face of Jesus to others, living like Jesus, who put the needs of others before His own, who will be able to go through the narrow door into Christ’s Kingdom.
How will you try to enter through this Narrow Door today?
Sr. Patricia O’ Reilly OP