25th August 2019
Curiouser and Curiouser
‘Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head though the doorway.’ (Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
In the opening chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice is having a bit of bother with doors. She finds herself in a hall in which the doors are all locked. When she finds a key, it doesn’t fit the locks. When she manages to find a door to match the key, she herself won’t fit through; the doorway is too narrow. How frustrating!
The parable in today’s Gospel also features a narrow door and a locked door, as well as an unsympathetic doorkeeper – it’s almost as if the master wants to keep everyone out! People knock on the door and expect to be admitted, but it’s not that simple. The master turns them away, claiming not to know them, despite protestations that they are acquainted.
Jesus is trying to teach his followers about discipleship. What does he mean when he says we must ‘enter by the narrow door’? Is it almost impossible to enter the kingdom of God? One thing is sure: a passing acquaintance with Jesus will not be enough. The plea of ‘We once ate and drank in your company’ is feeble. It is not enough to know Jesus only on the surface – to attend Mass every Sunday or to turn to him only when we are in need. To really know Jesus, one must walk the narrow path of the Gospel.
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