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Aug. 21, 2016

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday’s Gospel opens with someone asking Jesus:  “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”  Jesus, as often is the case, doesn’t answer the question directly.  Instead he told a parable about the master of a house who, after locking the door for the night, refused to open it when someone knocked and said:  “Lord, open the door for us.”   In replay the master said:  “I do not know where you are from.”  And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me you evildoers.’”    Jesus closes with the words:  “And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.  For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”    

What are we to make of Jesus words in this Sunday’s Gospel?   Think about these three things.   1.  Despite what some people would suggest, there is no set number of people who will be saved.   2. A passing familiarity with Jesus isn’t enough to assure salvation.   We are called to know Jesus, not just know about Jesus.   3.  There is an amazing breadth and depth to God’s salvific will.  People from every corner of the earth will be offered a place at the table in the kingdom of God --- perhaps surprising those who thought their place at the table was assured.       

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  Like the Gospel reading it speaks of God’s universal salvific will.   “They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the Lord…………….”

We continue to read from the Letter to the Hebrews for our second reading this Sunday.  In this Sunday’s section we are reminded that discipline from God is not a bad thing.   “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines:”  When speaking of discipline, it is important to remember that discipline and discipleship both share the same root.   It is through self discipline that we become disciples.  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. In the Gospel Jesus doesn’t answer the question as to how many will be saved.   Why do you think this is?  

  2. It is one thing to know about Jesus.  It is another to know Jesus.  How does one come to know Jesus?  

  3. What “discipline(s)” have helped you to be a better disciple?