Sunday Gospel: A Homily
In large groups, people listen to Jesus and follow Him. Again and again it seems like a success story that can hardly be broken. The large mass of all these attentive listeners gives the impression that they want to take His message seriously and give it shape in their lives. People follow Him everywhere, even to the most lonely places. His person and message apparently exert an enormous attraction on them. The question, however, is whether they really understand that He has a radical message that turns all their assumptions and dogmas on their head. He constantly speaks from an intimate and intense Love-Connection with His and our heavenly Father. In the space of that divine Love He wants to receive everyone with their whole being. He does not proclaim theological or spiritual ideas, but He demonstrates through his own life how God’s glory lights up in every living person. He looks at concrete people and sees in each his or her deepest being. He has an eye for their inner hunger to be truly seen and appreciated. In the sick and possessed He sees how they turn away from God’s gaze of love by ascribing life and health to themselves. By blessing them or laying hands on them, but especially by looking at them with divine Love or speaking a liberating word, He restores their primary and original relationship with God’s creative Hand. In His eyes they see how deeply God loves them. In this way He delivers them from their deeply rooted fear and survival instinct with which the proud ‘I’ turns away from God’s unconditional Love and wants to keep a grip on its own imaginary life.
Through all sorts of parables He tries to reawaken the consciousness in them that God is Love and that this Love embraces them personally. In this way he travels around the villages and towns bringing healing and liberation. But in reality He does nothing but reconnect us to the deep layer of God’s loving presence in our entire being, that is, in mind and body. No matter what has happened in our lives and no matter how much our soul has been scarred by other people or outer circumstances, that deep layer at which we ‘remember’ God’s Love is never lost and remains permanently accessible to our consciousness. After all, we all know, without exception, that we are seen and loved by God from eternity. We are His beloved children. Luke places this preaching journey of Jesus in the perspective of Jerusalem. There, in suffering and cross, the full meaning of God’s unconditional Love will be revealed. There, in His death on the Cross, Jesus will go to the culmination of His incarnation. All His life journey and His preaching of God’s unconditional Love culminate in ‘Jerusalem’ in His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Jesus became human so that we may know in mind, body and psyche the unconditionality of divine Love and surrender to it.
The purpose of the incarnation of Jesus is that we will say yes with our whole being to God’s unconditional Love and that we make room for this Love in our inner self. Our awareness of the intense and overwhelming Love with which God kisses us awake every moment is part of the process of Christ’s incarnation. All the more strange is the question someone asks Jesus: “Lord, are there few that are saved?” God fervently desires to save all people and include them in His Kingdom of Love. We only need to open our hearts to the divine Love and surrender to its unconditionality. We need only let go of the cramp of the self-righteousness of the “I” so that God can “rescue” us from the stranglehold of fear and sickly self-involvement. All it takes is that the illusion of human conditionality be pierced and loosened so that we become free people in the consciousness of the unconditionality of God’s Love. Then we finally enter into the truth of our humanity.
It seems that Jesus affirms that few will be saved, when He says, “Exert yourselves to the utmost to enter through the narrow door, for, I say unto you, many will try to enter, but they will fail.” Seen from God’s perspective, the door of the Kingdom of Heaven is wide open. Yet this door is apparently ‘a narrow door’ for us. After all, the problem is that we want to go in with all the bloatedness of our self-sufficient ‘I’. If we would let go of all our ‘I’ affirmations in speech and ways of thinking and dare to embrace our true ‘I’ – that is, ‘who I am in God’s eyes’ – then the narrowness of the divine door would appear wide enough for us. to be. After all, we leave behind everything that does not belong to our divine being and is actually completely superfluous. Our bloatedness is purely the result of our fear and survival instinct, but totally unnecessary. We are no more than a creature that is breathed into life though God’s breath out of ‘Nothing’, without becoming ‘something’. Our human ‘I’ is nothing more than an illusion born of our survival instinct. Only when we say with Paul ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20), it will be seen that the ‘narrow door’ is wide enough for the width of our divine ‘I’ consisting in total transparency.
The example or parable that Jesus next gives shows well that the spiritual transformation through which we become transparent is not a human project that we can put off until we think we are ready for it. As long as we are locked up in the delusion of our ‘I’, we turn away from God’s working in us. In a single movement, God creates, sees and loves us in His unconditional Love. If we place ourselves – driven by fear and the urge to survive on the basis of the awareness of our fundamental non-being and the ensuing vulnerability – outside that unconditional Love of God, it inevitably turns out that we are faced with a closed door. Then we also get to hear in response to our knocking and crying: “I do not know where you come from.” After all, without the robes of divine Love, but clothed only in the pretense of the ‘I’, we are unrecognizable in God’s eyes. We may well thrust out our chests and cry aloud, “In Your presence we have eaten and drunk, and You have taught in our streets.” We have apparently seen Jesus at a safe distance, but we have not surrendered to the workings of His unconditional Love. It is so easy to admire Him and think ‘maybe I should take that step’. Instead of receiving the abundance of God’s Love in our heart in its absolute unconditionality, we make it dependent on something we can ‘do’, that is, on our own project. If we give up our arbitrary ‘abhorrence’ of God and turn to Him with our whole being—not tomorrow, but Now—then we are now admitted to the wedding feast of Eternal Love and we will ‘sit in the kingdom of God’. In the divine Now we are never too late, for then we discover that He has already pulled us over the threshold.