Wednesday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: Eph 6:1-9;  Lk 13:22-30

“People will come from east and west, from north and south, and sit at table in the Kingdom of God.”  This expansive vision of Jesus sounds like what James Joyce had in mind when he wrote, “Catholic means here comes everyone.”  If you go to noon Mass on a weekday in an inner city church of a big city, especially the cathedral, you see homeless people and business executives, a variety of races and skin colors, the elderly and the agile, for half an hour at least with all barriers broken as together they say the same words, praising the God and Father of us all, praying for one another, and communicating from the same table, a woman who in a few minutes will return to her job as a hotel maid but now a Eucharistic minister offering the cup to a federal court judge. It is true that at the dismissal each will go her or his own way, like with like, but at least for this half hour, here comes everybody, at least for this half hour at the table of the Lord there is neither Jew or Greek, neither slave or free, not male and female, for, in Paul’s words, they “are all one in Christ Jesus.”  The Church is the Sacrament of the Kingdom of God, the foretaste, the fleeting glimpse of its reality in our own place and time.

So the other part of today’s Gospel: “strive to enter by the narrow door.”  It is a word addressed to everyone, and the narrow door is the birth canal of humility into the community of the children of God where dividing walls are not welcome. Paul makes the point: “Slaves, be obedient to your masters,”  and, “Masters, do the same to them.”  There is one Master of you both, one God, one Lord, one Father of us all. The Gospel does not promote a political and social revolution, a violent revolt of slaves against their masters, or citizens against police. The Gospel instead proposes a revolution of mutual service in self-forgetting love. It is a difficult message, but also the only convincing one in our world of anger and political correctness: to love everyone, to forgive, even those against whom, think of Mosul and Aleppo, it is necessary to fight. This posture of humble service in forgiving love is the narrow door that demands a profound renunciation but opens to true life, the life where your heart opens to the dimensions of God, so that the feast of the Kingdom will last for more than just half an hour. Here comes everybody. Welcome them.