The parable of the midnight knocking at the door seems rather harsh, and “grinding and gnashing of teeth” only appears this once in Luke’s Gospel. They may’ve eaten in Jesus’ company, but not in the manner of the eschatological banquet with Jesus and his fellow banqueters, the prostitutes and the tax collectors. He does not know where they are from because they are not from that special table, which represents the ingathering of all the peoples. The parable leads to three teachings sayings.

First there is the surprise that all the figures of Hebrew history will be at the banquet. Luke’s largely gentile audience would have had questions about this, as Christians gradually broke from Jewish roots.

The second saying tells of the great eschatological ingathering. Thirdly the repeated saying about the first and the last. Each of these represent fundamental aspects of the teachings of Jesus, that combined are core Christian principles of what it means to be church. It’s temporal and geographical scope is larger than we normally imagine. That is an enormous thought, especially in our time of exclusivity and entitlement.

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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