The narrow door

On the Gospel of Luke (13:22-30)

In today’s gospel Jesus gives his hearers a stark warning, concerning their place in his kingdom. Those who heard Jesus were mainly Jews, who presumed that their place in Gods kingdom was sure. After all they were children of Abraham. As such they followed the moral and liturgical laws handed on to them, which was the assurance of their place with God. They, unlike the gentiles, had the guarantee of being the chosen people of God and as such were to receive a place in Gods kingdom, entering through the narrow door, the Jewish law, which was open to them only.

Jesus tells them that the master may close the door to them, and despite their protestations’ of having ate and drank in his company, the master may not allow them into his presence. The master may even tell them that he does not know them. For many followers of Jesus today the same may be true. They believe that Jesus is their saviour, they follow the teachings of the church and they attend the public liturgy of the church. Surely they have earned their place in Gods kingdom?

This is the trap into which most of us fall from time to time. We reduce our relationship with Jesus to a formula of observances and following of precepts. This does not mean that they are bad; on the contrary they are good. But these things are a means to coming closer to God, and must never replace God. I may well attend church faithfully every week or even every day, I may well conform my life to the vision of life the church gives me. However if these do not change me inside, if they remain purely an external observance them I miss the point of them.

Our faith in Jesus must not simply be an external manifestation but also a renewal of heart, in how I treat those around me and in my attitudes to others. If we who have the privilege of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist do not become more like Jesus inside, then he will have trouble recognising us when it is our turn to knock at the narrow door.

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