The Gospel can be thought of a three teachings, again on the way to Jerusalem passing through towns and villages. The narrow gate image first leads to the other two. The supplicant outside the locked door who is not recognized by the householder who sends the person away leads to to a saying of vs. 28 about the patriarchs and prophets surprisingly already seated at the heavenly banquet. The final two verses 29 and 30, cite the Isaian vision of the first reading and end with a second saying which we see elsewhere in the Gospel. In other words there’s a lot of material here. Perhaps the rubric is “the few and the many.”

The lectionary skips three parables, two sets of sayings, and a rare cure on the way to Jerusalem of a woman.

For ourselves, we seek the widest, easiest road and gate into heaven. For religion we are not a rigorous culture. Quick, easy, soft. Jesus tells us that it takes strength. But what does this strength entail? What is spiritual strength? Are we the last minute people or late for everything people? God, the householder, has ended the day and the gate is locked. The house master says twice, “I do not know where you are from.” In other words where did your journey start and what path di you take to arrive at this locked gate? What detained you?

In light of the racism and the sense of elected and chosen privilege rampant today, it is the last of the three that could be taken up in the homily, supplemented by the first reading, to engage the universalism of the vision of God, one might even say the catholicism, in its original sense.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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