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Thursday, 18 August 2022 08:57

The narrow door

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me all you wicked men!”

Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’ (Luke 13:22-30)

Reflection - The narrow door

It is a horrible feeling to find yourself locked out of home. It can instil panic. What will I do now? It is even worse if those inside won’t let you in, or even recognise you. Worse still if the house is full of strangers.

There is no mistaking the sense of warning in this passage of Luke’s Gospel.

Over the last few weeks, the gospel has presented Jesus on the journey to Jerusalem and his teaching about how to live our lives as disciples and the hard choices involved. The readings this week continue in this vein and point to the difficulty in being authentic to God and being prepared. If we are not properly prepared, whoever we are, we will not see the Kingdom of God – remember the phrases of recent Gospel readings: ‘stand ready’, ‘lamps lit’, ‘dressed for action’.

Jesus’ teaching in the towns and villages sparks a sense that things are nearing a climax. This provokes the question about how many will be saved. Jesus refuses to speculate about numbers, instead turning the question into a warning not to miss the opportunity while it is still available. Otherwise, a person may very well find themselves locked outside.

Through what Jesus will accomplish in Jerusalem, all will have the opportunity to be part of his kingdom. He will open the door.

Being a disciple is not about following Christ in name only. Our relationship with Jesus is not gained by casual acquaintance with his words and actions but by thoroughgoing conversion (repentance) – the ‘narrow gate’. So, we need to honestly and purposefully attempt to live out our humanity, social concerns and faith through action and prayer, in the light of Christ, in his spirit and according to his teaching.

The disciple can only share fully in the life of Christ through true conversion of heart - that’s the ‘narrow door’ through which we enter the Kingdom, our true home.

Download to read or print our Celebrating At Home prayers, reading and reflection for this Sunday:

pdf Celebrating At Home 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time [PDF] (3.23 MB)                            
default Celebrating At Home 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time [ePub] (3.96 MB)


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The Carmelite Rule states that is basic for a Carmelite to "live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ - how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master" [no.2].


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