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Luke 13: 22-30 – Week 30 Ordinary Time, Wednesday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 ¶ Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Christ’s journey from Galilee to Jerusalem is an ascent, literally, that occupies the central third of Luke’s Gospel. When the journey begins, it is made explicit that this is a journey toward the cross: ‘And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem…’ (Luke 9: 51) Christ’s teachings as he and his disciples travel are cued to the sense of steady, deliberate movement toward the Passion.

Today’s verses further illuminate our path to salvation in Jesus. Jesus advises us to seek to enter into heaven by the narrow door, and warns that it does take serious effort to reach the goal of salvation. It is not enough simply to have heard Christ’s teaching, or to have eaten and drunk in his presence; the necessary conversion should radiate through our life and actions, as we resist evil and give ourselves to the good.

We may ask, then: What is the narrow door? What does this mean? In the Sermon on the Mountain, Jesus suggests that the entrance into the Kingdom has eight doors. These are the eight categories of persons of the Beatitudes:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5: 3-10)

Here we have the model of the human being we can become through Christian conversion. As we conform to the image of the Beatitudes, we imitate Jesus. To journey with Jesus, as a disciple, through the text of the Gospels and toward Jerusalem and the cross, is to centre our lives upon Jesus. He is the absolute good to which we align ourselves. He is the gateway.

‘We must devote ourselves heart and soul to the task of well-doing, for everything comes from the hand of God and he has already warned us, “See, the Lord is approaching, with his reward before him, to pay every man as his work deserves.” That is why he bids us believe him implicitly and never be slothful or remiss in any good work.

‘How blessed, how marvellous are the gifts of God, my friends! Some of them, indeed, already lie within our comprehension – the life that knows no death, the shining splendour of righteousness, the truth that is frank and full, the faith that is perfect assurance, the holiness of chastity – but what of the things prepared for those who wait? Who but the Creator and Father of eternity, the Most Holy himself, knows the greatness and beauty of these?

‘Then let us strain every nerve to be found among those who wait in patience for him, so that we too may earn a share of his promised gifts. And how is this to be done, my friends? Why, by fixing our minds trustfully on God; by finding out what is pleasing and acceptable to him; by doing whatever agrees with his perfect will; by following the paths of truth. Wickedness and wrongdoing of every kind must be utterly renounced.’ Pope St Clement I

Concluding Prayer | Love Revealed By Jesus Christ

Shed your clear light on our hearts, Lord
so that walking continually in the way of your commandments,
we may never be deceived or misled.
We make our prayer through our Lord.