Saturday, 20 August 2016

Through the Narrow Door

Meditation on Sunday's Gospel

The gospel opens with these words; “Lord,” someone asked Him, “will only a few people be saved?” Jesus answered, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able." Lk. 13:24. Mathew’s account renders it this way; “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Mtt. 7:13

This brings to mind a similar teaching Jesus gave about the narrow way that leads to salvation in his encounter with the Rich Young Man.  “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:23

There is an interesting discussion among scripture scholars about the “camel” reference. Some think it is a mistranslation. It should read “rope” (to pass a camel hair rope …) that cannot pass through the eye of a needle. See the reference and article below.

In Mark’s account of Jesus’ discussion of how wealth is an obstacle to anyone seeking salvation, Jesus makes it clear that saving one’s self is impossible. Then he adds that only God can make it happen. So the question arises, why does Jesus tell us “… to make every effort to enter …” if our efforts will be futile?

In order to grasp and appreciate, even in a small way, the gift of salvation, we must have some personal experience of what it is to give out of love. With the gift of free will working in us, we can begin to appreciate what it means to give and so to love. As we strive to be givers-out-of-love, we come to know who God really is and our relationship with him. And when we experience our giving the love of mercy to those who do not deserve it, we begin to appreciate how God loves us. God wants us to know we are loved not that we are deserving.

Our striving to enter does not make God love us, nor does it qualify us to merit salvation. It forms us into lovers and only lovers understand lovers; only lovers can know the God of love. 

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Consider Lucifer, angel of light, "Day Star, son of Dawn", so magnificent was his glory, that were you to enter his presence you would think you were seeing God. Yet pride and self deceit caused him to fall from glory. 
  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15
To save us from such a fate, when God created us, he placed us in this lowly humanity, so that we would have nothing to boast of accept our nothingness - so that when God would cloth us in heavenly glory, we would not fall into pride as did the fallen angels.

There are some 41 bible references to Lucifer and the fallen angels. Here is a link to a site listing these references. [... LINK ...]

Camel or Rope 
"The Aramaic word gamla means camel, a large rope and a beam. The meaning of the word is determined by its context. If the word riding or burden occurs then gamla means a camel, but when the eye of a needle is mentioned gamla more correctly means a rope. There is no connection anywhere in Aramaic speech or literature between camel and needle, but there is a definite connection between rope and needle."
For the full article go to [ ... LINK ... ] 

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