Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Is 66:18-21; Heb 12:5-7, 11-13; Lk 13:22-30
The other night I was taking out the garbage, and our blind cat, Cisco, sprung past me and started running along the outside of our convent. As I ran after him, the door slammed behind me—I was locked out. Cisco and I stood at the door for quite a while before someone heard my banging and his meowing. No one likes to be locked out.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus uses two metaphors to describe admittance into the kingdom of God—the narrowness of the doorway and the sudden closing of that door. Jesus alludes to the fact that many seek to enter the kingdom of God, inquiring and searching for the way, but in the end they are unable to pass through. The assumed “insiders”—ones who thought they had a sure ticket to sit at the banquet because of their lineage, ethnic heritage, or birthright discover to their dismay that they are locked out.
They appeal to Jesus, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” But Jesus says more is required. Earlier in this chapter (13: 3-5) Jesus says quite plainly that repentance, a change in the direction of one’s life, is required. They say to him, “But...you taught in our streets.” The question to them is, “Yes, but did you follow my way of loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself, and change your life?”
It’s clear from today’s parable that for Jesus, being born Christian or attending Mass on Sunday are simply not enough. Others will “take their place at the feast in the kingdom of God” because they heard the word of God and began to live accordingly. Jesus in his parables turned things upside down—people on the margins are drawn to the center, the humble are raised up, and the last will be first. Jesus’ words today are harsh and are meant to shake us out of our complacency. However, the doorway is wide, and the door is open to those who strive to live the way of Christ.
Sr. Terry Rickard, OP