One of the problems with texts that revile the Pharisees is that they habituate us into thinking that they are the bad guys of the Bible who have nothing to do with us. The truth is, not every Pharisee was the hypocritical monster that Jesus describes in today’s gospel text, and many people who are not and were not Pharisees are and were just like the nasty folks in the reading. The issue has more to do with religious attitude than with specific sectarian membership. Thus, while the ancient Pharisees are long gone, pharisaic attitudes remain.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-5, 8b-10; Matthew 23:13-22
Today we celebrate one of the glorious mysteries of the rosary, the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What a joy to have a mother in heaven that cares for us! What a blessing to realize that our mother is also the Queen Mother, the one who points all of her children to her Son, the King of heaven and earth, our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary is worthy of our honor and devotion. All generations have called her “Blessed” and rightly so.
Is 66:18-21; Hbr 12:5-7, 11-13; Lk 13:22-30
What particularly struck me this morning, though, was this idea of the narrow door. Whenever I’ve heard this talked about, it’s usually along the lines of it being difficult to find or enter through. But I think that this totally misses the mark. This house, remember, is a large house – a palace, even – for it is the Kingdom of God. Grand houses have several entrances. There’s the wide door, which is for honoured guests, friends and relatives. And there’s the narrow door, which is the servants’ entrance. And this is what I think Jesus was talking about (and what would have been the obvious interpretation for his listeners). If we are to enter the Kingdom, we must not seek to enter through the wide door of honour, but through the narrow door of servitude and dishonour.