Once upon a time, there live two close friends who love terrible pun jokes. One of them thinks that she has the best pun. So she says to her friend, “When is a door not a door?” Her friend thinks and thinks and thinks and then he smiles. “When it is ajar,” he responds. (sorry)
How does Jesus save us? It’s through the door.
Some five hundred years before Christ, some people believe that only those who intermarry with their own kind and only those who keep the purity of the Law would restore the homeland. But the prophet proclaims a different message. God call all sorts of people to salvation. God decides who reigns with him in glory.
Similarly, today, many religious people believe that they will get to heaven just because they are religious. But notice what St. Luke’s community believes about salvation. Just because we believe that we are buddies with Christ does not ensure us a reservation. Our Catholicity does not ensure us free rides into the kingdom. What is crucial is that God needs to recognize us first! And God will recognize us as we bend down to get through the narrow door.
In ancient times, large ornate doorways only exist in rich homes. Anyone who is anyone loves to be seen entering the doorway of the rich host. And then when they arrive they hope to be seated among the rich and the famous, the crème de la crème. No one wants to be seen sitting or speaking to the oi poloi, the “common folk.”
Be careful. God sees our religiosity. St. Luke describes “religiosity” as an arrogant buddy-buddy system that gets us a ticket to heaven. “Hey, Jesus, I take Holy Communion.” “Hey Jesus, I read my bible.” “Hey, Jesus, I’m the right religion, the right skin color, the right nationality.” What will we do when the Master says, “I do not know you?”
Bend down to enter through the narrow doorway, Jesus says, that small little doorway that makes us all equal, more humble, and more connected to God’s little ones. The letter to the Hebrews claims that if I want to part of the kingdom I need to heal the lame parts of myself. St. Benedict says that I need to humble myself. One of the steps of humility is what I call, “I am a human being who will die, so why do I always act like a god?” Though Jesus saves us all, salvation is also based on me cooperating with the Lord.
There is nothing confusing about the Word of God: the first shall be last and the last first. The door is ajar and it is narrow. Bend down and serve. Bend down and bless. Bend down and touch the earth. Bend down and be equal with another. That is how God will recognize us at this Eucharist.
The Rev. Fr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.