Roc Homily Prequel – Twenty-First Sunday Ordinary Time 2016

I didn’t work in any word-study this time…

Narrow Door

So, let me add this curious discovery concerning “enter through the narrow door…”  The NRSV translates the Greek, stenos, as narrow in only two instances. Otherwise, it uses “distress.”  Funky, right?  Here are the sources:

  1. **********Numbers 22:26f (NRSV) — 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam; and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
  2. **********Zechariah 10:11f (NRSV) — 11 They shall pass through the sea of distress, and the waves of the sea shall be struck down, and all the depths of the Nile dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. 12 I will make them strong in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name, says the Lord.
  3. **********Isaiah 8:21f (NRSV) — 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, 22 or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.
  4. **********Jeremiah 30:7 (NRSV) — 7 Alas! that day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be rescued from it.
  5. **********Baruch 3:1f (NRSV) — 1 O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish and the wearied spirit cry out to you. 2 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned before you.

I find the Zechariah passage helpful.  It refers to Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea to freedom.

In any event, it seems to influence our understanding of this saying in this way:  “Enter salvation through the gate of distress.  Letting go of fear, possessiveness, self-absorption, and resentment is the journey of purification and the door (of distress) to discipleship.”  That’s my take, anyway.  Yours?  –roc,sj

PS: Audio homily to come when I receive it.

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