22) Jesus saw some infants at the breast. He said to his disciples: These little ones at the breast are like those who enter into the kingdom. They said to him: If we then be children, shall we enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: When you make the two one , and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper side as the lower; and when you make the male and the female into a single one , that the male be not male and the female female; when you make eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall you enter[the kingdom].
There is something about the rhythm of this scripture that sings to me. On the surface, I haven’t a clue what it means, but it sounds beautiful. As I look in more closely, I find threads of much deeper meaning, though it seems to me, possibly through translation, the verse doesn’t completely gel in English. For example, it begins with obvious opposites, make two one, make the outside as the inside, the upper as the lower, the male and the female, the eyes in place of an eye…but then a foot in place of a foot, a hand in place of a hand, and an image in place of an image…the opposite notion is a bit lost – or is it?
Basically I see this scripture refers to the paradoxes, and the dualistic way we usually view the world. Jesus is suggesting that these paradoxes and dualistic notions must be reconciled in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. He is also suggesting that we must be innocent, and perhaps ego-less, just as the little ones are. One enters the kingdom by recovering one’s original self, undivided by the differences between male and female, physical and spiritual. This presents the theme of unifying opposites.
This verse holds out our tendency to view dualistically and asks us to seek and find a different, fresh view of the world – just as Jesus did. The kingdom in this sense is a primordial place, of a time and a place that is all time, all place, neither beginning nor ending yet persisting in the present. Can we actualize Light, for example, that is within us as well as outside of us? Can we envision the kingdom that is not only above us, but below us? Can we move past our sexuality and our other differences, and simply be who we are originally? Can we see through the eyes, not our singular eye, but through the eye through which God sees? Can we touch with hands and walk with feet beyond our own? When we are able to reconcile these opposites, this scripture suggests that we will return to the kingdom, yet remain standing on the earth, but with a broadly altered construct of it.