There is a familiar quotation that says; “I shall pass through this world but once Any good therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect, for I shall not pass this way again.” Those lines serve to remind us of the transient nature of life. It does not stand still. It is constantly on the move. And once any part of life has passed us by, it is gone forever. We can never have it back again.
This is also the theme of today’s gospel reading. It begins with the sentence “Jesus went through cities and towns teaching.” Then it adds this significant phrase “all the while making his way toward Jerusalem.” Jesus made the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem several times during his ministry, but this particular time was special. It was the last time, This journey carried him all the way to Calvary where he died. He never passed that way again.
The people in those cities and towns were dealing with their last opportunity for a personal, face to face friendship with Jesus of Nazareth. I Wonder how many of them took advantage of it. The reading seems to suggest that there were not very many. Someone asked Jesus “Lord, are they few in number who are to be saved?” Jesus answered that question by telling a brief story about a narrow door that would one day be closed. And once closed, it could never be opened,
What is the meaning of this strange story and the events that prompted its telling? Some think Jesus was talking about the people who would miss their chance to go to heaven when they die. Perhaps so, but I doubt it. I think he was talking about the opportunities of life here and now.