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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C

Luke 13:22-30

“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:24)

Jesus tells a parable about a man standing outside a door, knocking, and the owner of the house turns him away because he does not know him. Just like other parables about those who are not prepared for the return of the master, this story is difficult to digest at first. We might be led to wonder why Jesus tells a parable where the owner of the house will say, “I do not know where you come from; go away all you evildoers!”

Consider the man knocking at the door, who claims to know the owner because he once ate and drank with him. There is a difference between knowing a person through casual encounters and being a true friend who is invited into the house. A relationship with Jesus is the same. He wants us to know Him intimately, so that we will meet Him as a true friend–not an acquaintance–in Heaven.

When contemplating my own relationship with the Lord, my thoughts turn to prayer. Lately, I have wondered if I am merely going through the motions. Am I more committed to my prayer routine than my actual relationship with God? Am I letting myself be distracted by worries without fully listening to God’s voice–or allowing His words to sink in? I want to do more than fill my quota for Mass and prayer, but to constantly try to know the Lord more deeply.

Jesus gives us instruction on how to do this before He begins the parable, saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.” It is not enough to say that we are Christians and call it a job well done. Sometimes I yearn for the time when I will have finally “mastered” prayer and don’t have to think about doing better, but in truth I should never allow myself to be satisfied. I won’t be finished until I have entered through that narrow door.

Even though keeping my focus on the Lord is sometimes a struggle, I am reminded that my struggle is not in vain. I do not need to have it all figured out now, but if I keep striving and come to prayer with the desire to know Jesus, then He will welcome me as a true friend.


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