TWENTY FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
21st August 2022
Isaiah 66:18-21; Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13; Luke 13:22-30.
In today’s gospel, Jesus was asked a question about salvation while on his way to Jerusalem. He answered by urging us to strive to enter by the narrow door, because many will try to enter and will not succeed. This answer of Jesus forces the enquiry: why should we strive to enter the kingdom of heaven through a narrow door? In the gospel of John, Jesus told us that there are many rooms in his father’s house, there is enough room for everyone. Why is the main door so narrow that we must strive to enter?
The image of the narrow door is used by Jesus to tell us that conditions apply with regards to entrance into the kingdom of heaven. It is a way of telling us that there are virtues necessary for the kingdom of heaven. It is a narrow door because not everything can pass through it. Christian virtues make us light and fit to pass through the narrow door. A mixture of virtue and vice will not pass through it. We are products of our culture and environment. It is possible that we may have inherited prejudices, dispositions and ideologies contrary to the principles of the kingdom of heaven. Some of us have some reservations about the church’s doctrines based on life experience. A mixture of all these will block our way and sometimes make us unwilling to enter through the narrow door.
To rid ourselves of these prejudices, dispositions and ideologies will require the kind of discipline mentioned in the second reading according to the letter to the Hebrews. It used the image of a father using love to discipline and train the child. It reads: My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Striving to enter the narrow door is God’s loving way of training us to be fit for the kingdom of heaven. It is out of love that he warns us to strive. It is not enough to bear the name Christian, it must reflect in our lives. There is need for a continuous reassessment of our lives. Only virtue can pass through the narrow door with ease.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.