A myHT Fortress

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Christ the Narrow Door: A Homily on Luke 13:22-30

Luke 13:22-30

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I do not know where you come from.” How often do we use those words. But instead of righteous words of law issuing from the mouth of our Judge, they are words spoken secretly – indirectly – condescendingly. These words of rejection come out of mouths all over the world.

“I do not know where you come from,” we say, regarding our younger brother as he enters high school as a geeky freshman during your senior year.

“I do not know where you come from,” we worry, as we live in a time of illegal aliens,

stolen identities, and credit card fraud.

In a nutshell, you and I have no right to flit about, exclaiming these words of Christ. From our lips, they are nonsensical judgment. Such phrases from our mouths, spoken in such attitudes, are self-righteous sin. We take on an air of superiority that does not belong to us. We usurp the Lord’s office as Judge.

Repent! You have the same narrow door as everyone else through which to enter. You are right with all others, coming from east and west, north and south. When you have moments and thoughts like Pharisees, imagining that you can please God with your words and actions, you join the ranks of the unbelievers who crowd around the door, arguing that their ticket must be at the “will call” desk! Such self-righteousness only leads to weeping and gnashing of teeth. Such thought and behavior is rampant among those who are horrified as they hear the Lord Christ proclaim: “Depart from Me, all you workers of evil!”

But Jesus wants to rescue you! He reaches out to bring you through that narrow door and place you in the midst of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, all His prophets – indeed, with the whole communion of saints. He desires your salvation, that you may recline at table with Him, body

and soul, in His kingdom that has no end.

In Holy Baptism he washed you and prepared you for that journey. He sustains you as you go, even now, as you are nourished and strengthened with His Holy Gospel and His Holy Eucharist. And He gathers you in through the threshold of earthly death, drawing you into His eternal kingdom.

Yes, the door is narrow. No room for a portly Buddha, or a deceptive Mohammed. No side entrances for a pseudo-Christian cult’s false god or idolater. Not even an open window for the good, moral agnostic or kindly New Ager who has rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God-in-the-flesh!

These and all others outside of authentic Christianity will try to find loop holes. They will work and strive, as Jesus said, to enter through the door. But the doors they are trying are all false. Like the cartoon door, many stories up in the air, that opens for the bad guy to fall thousands of feet down. These are doors that lead no where, completely opposite of Christ, the true Door to the Sheep Pen!

And, dear friends, you must beware that you do not slip and follow their lead. Theirs is a path that is easy and wide. It is not the way of Christ with the narrow door.

Yet, do not despair! Jesus has come and brings pleasure eternal. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary for you, He IS the narrow Door. Our Savior draws you to Himself, and brings His Holy Spirit to lead you to repentance. He ushers you through His door at Holy Baptism, down the path of this earthly pilgrimage. He carries you through this life, and nestles you in His arms, safely bearing you through the valley of the shadow of death. He raises you at the last, that your very body, risen and glorified, may bask in the presence of God at His Holy Table.

This morning we celebrate that our Lord Christ has placed this school among us, and has called these individuals to be doorkeepers in the House of the Lord. They are teaching Christ to many, and thus aiding parents in walking their children through the narrow door. We rejoice with Matt and Jeremy as they recline at table with Jesus, and direct children through His door.

While you get to do this briefly already, so do many others, some under false pretenses. “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets,” they tell our Lord. Yet, while He teaches, many ears are closed. And many who eat and drink do so believing they share merely a symbol or only some spiritual presence of Jesus in the Holy Supper.

Dear friends in Christ, the Lord of the Feast is here in His Body every bit as much as He was for Peter, James, and John, and all the rest of His apostles. When He promises, “This is My Body, given for you,” “This is My Blood, shed for you,” that bread and wine cannot refuse Him. Those elements MUST become His very Body and Blood! His Word does what it says!

Thanks be to God that He causes such faith in you! He does what He says, and stirs up in you the faith and trust that He gives His true Body and Blood for you, so that when you say, “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets,” it is not out of self-righteousness or false security. Absolutely not! When you say those words, they are spoken in faith, loving the Savior-God who teaches you and feeds you as He reclines at table with you.

As you ponder Jesus’ words this morning, dear Christian friends, do not worry. Remember the words from the Holy Gospel two Sundays ago. Stop being afraid!

If you are humbly concerned about being shut out of Jesus’ kingdom, the irony is that you are not in such danger! You have the gift of faith, given by Jesus Christ. He will preserve you as you pass through Him, the True and Narrow Door. He cares for you as his forgiven, redeemed, and rescued people, whom He Teaches and nourishes at His Table.

Stop being afraid, dear Christians! You will not even have the need of saying, “Lord, open to us,” because He stands ready to welcome you with those precious words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter into the pleasure of My Father.” Amen.

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