Defining the Narrow Gate, and Doers of Evil.

Cattle chuteNo Greek and Hebrew knowledge in the world will help us in translating the key word in Gospel reading for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. Those who have been to the farm will understand what the key word means. The correct translation for the word translated as gate is not gate, but chute. Enter through the narrow chute. Chutes are not simple gates for moving cattle from one field to another. Ranchers use chutes to move cattle from the pen where they want to be to another pen where they do not want to be, generally for good reason. The place the cattle chutes leads to is generally for turning the young bulls into steers, the strongest of the lot into filet minion.

“Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.  Someone asked, “Kyrie, will only a few people be saved?” He answered, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

Cattle chute 2When we are in a crowd, we think we see the shortcut leading into the field. What we really see is the cattle chute. We work violence, pushing and shoving our way to what we perceive to be the way to the field. Those strive to enter through the chute are striving to become filet minion. Luke 16:16 tells us the process, “The Torah/teaching and the Navy lasted until John;  but from then on the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone who enters does so with violence. Those striving to enter the narrow chute are the martyrs.

Jesus tells us that the After People will be the Russia, and the Russia will be the After People.” In Hebrew, “Russia,” means head. Rosh Hashanah means the head of the year. Those who think themselves first, will be last. Those who think they are the after people will be first, in the eyes of God.

100_3144Jesus tells us, “I say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you פּעֲלֵי הָאָוֶן/Pall Avon.’ There will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Jesus uses a Hebrew buzz phrase, doers of the crooked. The Greek Septuagint sometimes uses the Greek phrase,” οἱ ἐργάται τῆς ἀδικίας,” to translate the Hebrew, “Workers of Hamas.” Hamas is a Palestinian terrorist group, famed for violence. Hamas means violence. Jesus refers to those who would enter Utopia through violence.

We can take violence two ways. The first is an active tense. These are the people pushing and shoving to get into the chute, thinking it takes them to verdant pasture. They are strong enough to draw attention of the rancher, who then runs them through the cattle chute.

After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, they will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Kyrie, open the door for us.’ Jesus tells those of us who would use violence, or our own skills to get where we want to go, “I do not know where you are from.” Those using their own skills to enter heaven, will say, “We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Jesus tells those of us saying ‘We attended Mass, eating and drinking with you, and being all kinds of Evangelical. Jesus tells this group, ‘I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me, all you פּעֲלֵי הָאָוֶן/those who would use force, or their own abilities to enter heaven or get their way in the world.”

Luke has Jesus speak of violence in the passive tense, those receiving the violence. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” It takes a very strong man to be able to enter the cattle chute, knowing where it leads. This is what Jesus calls us to.

People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. These are the people who are neither the Russia, nor the After People. These people view themselves as equals. God and Jesus want joy-filled people willing to sacrifice themselves for the General Welfare, or Well, Fare, as in Seafarer, one who travels by sea. Welfare is those who travel well, helping all aboard the ship to make it to port. We are a parish, Greek for traveler. We strive for the common journey of all humankind to be well, healthy for all.


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