"Strive to enter through the narrow gate."

From Mike Liccione, commenting on this Gospel passage:

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.

After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.' And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!'

And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.


He makes this important point:

On an obvious, historical level, Jesus seems to be speaking about certain Jews of his day. Assuming he himself is the "master of the house," he has himself saying someday to certain people in the parable "I don't know where you come from," banishing them permanently from the household of God they want to enter. Not a few Jews of Jesus' day rejected him despite having eaten and drunk in his company and heard him teach in the streets. And Jesus duly warns them. But it's never that simple. The Lord's words apply as much to the future, to his Church, the new Israel, as to those present when he walked the earth. It is quite conceivable that some who are baptized, who are raised in the true Faith, who go to church and take communion often, will find themselves being told at the end "I don't know where you're from. Depart, evildoers!" Some people who are formally in the Church, the household of God, are not followers of Christ in their hearts, despite claiming to be and having a velleity, as distinct from a will, to do so. And they show that by how they live.

Comments

SocietyVs said…
"Some people who are formally in the Church, the household of God, are not followers of Christ in their hearts, despite claiming to be and having a velleity, as distinct from a will, to do so. And they show that by how they live."

I would take some exception with this since I think church has become a very useless mechanism - that has befuddled many an interpretation about Jesus. I think whether in the church as we know it or not - may not have as much a dent on where you go - since I know more hypocrites in the faith than outside out.

That being said, the main point in that article is 'evil-doers' - these are the people Jesus will not recognize (even as they bang on the door). The church is the one not exempt here (nor in Matthew 7) - since these people say 'Lord' (Master - as if they recognize the concept clearly). Now this could refer to people that left the church (agreed) but it also can refer to people in the church still! Ever hear of Christian people that do evil things in the name of Jesus? Or mis-represent Jesus for the sake of their own ministry (name building)? Or admire Jesus up to the point they find out this faith and greed cannot co-exist - so they become Capital-ians (we find multi-million dollar preachers?). Believe me AD, there is no shortage of bad things being done in Jesus name' - this list almost gets endless. Maybe Jesus is pointing to this happening?

But you tell me who is worse off - the person with personal faults in his/her life but effects very little of society and no one pays them attention or someone with a lot of power who decieves the faithful with fancy preaching and stage tricks for building his name/empire - in the name of Jesus but really for the fame attached to that name? Neither is good - but if we have to set our sights on correcting a problem - let's get the big fish and the little one's will right themselves.
SocietyVs said…
At a further look at that passage Jesus is addressing the religious community of his day (since he mentions Abe, Isaac, and Jacob - Jewish patriarches). Telling them to change their ways - but I can see how this is very easily significant now.
Joab said…
-I know more hypocrites in the faith than outside out.-

That's funny. I don't know anyone who isn't a hypocrite.
Abu Daoud said…
"We are convinced that a man loves God only insofar as he loves the church." --Saint Augustine

"You can't have God for your Father without having the church for your mother." --Saint Cyprian (quoted approvingly by Luther and Calvin)

Though the church may be full of hypocrites it is still "the pillar of truth" and "the bride of Christ," and when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus asked him, "Why are you persecuting ME?"

And BTW, Muslims call Jesus "lord" or "master" all the time: sayidna 'iisa.
SocietyVs said…
"Though the church may be full of hypocrites it is still "the pillar of truth" and "the bride of Christ," and when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus asked him, "Why are you persecuting ME?" (AD)

What church is that bride? Catholic, Evangelical, United, Prsbyterian, Orthodox (greek, Ukrainian, etc), Charismatic, Mega-church ministries (like Osteen), Anglican, etc. All of them? The Catholic church just came out recently and said they were 'solely' that 'bride' - if that is true Jesus has a lot to answer for (see sexual cases in North America and worldwide).

As far as the 'pillar of truth' I would have to say 'what does that even mean'? Doctrinally they are so sound to be considered 'true'? If it is about sound doctrine I can go through each docrtinal statement of each church (and their current under-workings today in society) and you let me know if what they teach is the same thing Jesus taught. You'd be fairly surprised.

Also Jesus actually mentioned destroying the temple - the holy place of Israel - and it was. He claimed he was the new 'temple' - or his faith would be - now what we see with Paul is him persecuting sincere followers of Christ (so yes - that is Christ in that sense) - but this is for sure not a building or a doctrinal statement...it 2 or 3 people gathered in 'His' name. So just what is the church?

I have a tough time believing the church as we have it now is the 'pillar of truth', 'a fair representation of Christ altogether', 'a spotless bride', etc...if this is gonna happen we need to start dis-carding some of this religion/denominations we have and move forward into faith in Christ (and unity - I am guessing Christ or the bride hates to be torn to shreds). I think the church is those people that follow Jesus and this is not constituted in a building or particular faith - but in gathering together. And we got a lot of problesm to solve before we can say we are 'spotless'.

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