This past Sunday, Catholics enjoyed one of the sternest and, as my priest in Wilsonville, Oregon, described, “frightening” of gospels, contained at Luke 13:22-30:
“And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem.
And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them,
“Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from’.
“Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’;
and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS’.
“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out.
“And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.
“And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last”.
The priest went on to explain that the “narrow door”, historically, is the door to the side of the large doors of the walled City of Jerusalem. The narrow door, designed to allow one person through at a time, was for protection, and had a wall in front of the door, so one must take an immediate left; then another wall, so one must take a right; and then a final wall, where one takes another left. The idea behind the narrow door is to allow one person admission at a time, and so that one person cannot carry dangerous baggage, such as a spear or a sword.
What a frightening thought, indeed, to think, earnestly, that one has lived a pious life, only to meet Christ at the narrow door and be denied admission.
Yet many Christians today think that they are of a certain “pedigree” and have a free pass to eternal salvation because they go to Mass or services every Sunday and belong to a Church.
For believers, what a profound disappointment it would be to dedicate one’s life to the Word of God and then be one of the “many” who will be denied admission through the narrow door. How, I thought, could we turn ourselves into a spiritual being that Christ does not even recognize, despite the fact we love our families and donate to charity and otherwise try to be polite and kind?
I submit we become beings unrecognizable to Christ through eating animals on our dinner plates - which is the ritualization and celebration of violence, suffering, and death - in effect, Satan worship - and through worship of Satan through hunting, fishing, and other forms of exploitation of His animal kingdom. Tradition is no excuse in the eyes of the animals exploited and killed, and it is no defense in the eyes of the greatest defender and advocate of the oppressed, Christ Himself.
Children are pure in Christ’s eyes. We train our children to worship Satan when we feed them body parts of animals, and teach them that it is alright to hunt, fish, and otherwise exploit animals. To celebrate oppression, cruelty, and murder - which is what meat and dairy eaters do - is to celebrate and rejoice in Satan. That is how we become unrecognizable in the eyes of Christ.
What a rude awakening for born-again Christians, and others, who eat meat
and dairy and think they have a free pass to Heaven because they were
faithful to their spouse and paid their taxes and donated to the poor. It
isn’t enough. In fact, it is far from enough.
The good news is that a vegan lifestyle is easy, and there are health benefits. The discipline comes from having the courage to throw away the “baggage” that prevents us from passage through the narrow door - the tradition, ritualization of violence, and socially-accepted celebration of violence and misery: in effect, and from the perspective of the animals, Satan worship.