A scholarly attempt at an interpretation of Sunday's liturgical readings.

On the road….

 

The phrase “on the road….” generally refers to someone who is going somewhere or doing something  with a strong sense of “motivation.”  That  is, there is a definite stance of determination until the place is reached or the deed is done–in spite of the obstacles confronted.

Luke, in his Gospel (Lk. 13:22-30), often has Jesus “on the road,” this time heading toward Jerusalem, the place where his earthly ministry will end with his passion and death, and continue with his disciples after his resurrection. 

While Jesus is on the road, he usually stops to illustrate a lesson for his disciples.  In the reading above, someone asks him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”  Salvation is of large concern for the people at the time.  And how does Jesus reply? 

We note that Jesus answers by using the image of the door/gate.  Imagery is crucial to the simple people’s understanding of the message.  So, there are two aspects to the image.  The door/gate is narrow, and the master most likely will have locked it.

First, the narrow door/gate.  The door/gate is so portrayed thus indicating that one needs to make an effort to get through it.  Most likely, not everyone  who tries to enter will get in.  Quite possibly, not all obstacles are overcome.

Second, the master most likely will have locked the door/gate.  This means that one can be indecisive about entering or not.  That indecisiveness may well come at a time when the master thinks it is time to lock the door/gate, lest thieves come in. 

Temptation may well be another reason for indecisiveness.  Do I want to  get rid of my bad habit or not?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  Depends.

An EFFORT to pass through the narrow door/gate, in spite of many obstacles encountered (including injustices confronted), together with the DECISION to rid myself of harmful tenptations, will pretty much answer the question put to Jesus:  “Lord, will only a few be saved?”

In reality, EFFORT and DECISION, as portrayed in the Gospel reading above, can easily make us part of the few who will enter the narrow door/gate into salvation.

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