Year C: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Luke 13: 22-30
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking to people who were used to the idea of being “chosen” - but who had lost sight of the challenge that goes with being chosen. He is telling them that it will be no good saying that He passed down their street - that they were present at one of the meals He ate. They can’t claim salvation on just happening to be around when Jesus was in town...many people will be able to do that.
The point will be - did it make a difference?
Then - to add insult to injury - Jesus says that the places the “chosen” ones thought were reserved only for them in the Kingdom of God will in fact be taken by other people from distant lands.
He is, in fact, talking about the fulfilment of a prophecy that God will establish a Kingdom and will draw all the peoples of the earth to it - on the holy mountain, a feast will be prepared for all people...
However, even if the people listening to Jesus looked forward to that day, they must have thought that their own places were assured - and not just assured but that they would be first in the queue!
Does this begin to sound a bit like us?
Do we have the sneaking feeling that we are at the front of the queue? Do we feel that, somehow, we are doing God - and everyone else - a favour by coming to church - because, really, we don’t need to make the effort for ourselves?
One of the things that causes the biggest problems in our faith life is the tendency to take it all for granted. The church is always there when we want to go on a Sunday morning. When we want the sacraments for ourselves and our children, they are there. If we want to buy a Bible or other religious book, we can. We don’t have to look over our shoulders and wonder who might be watching - or what the consequences of our religious practise might be. In the history - and geography - of Christianity, we have “never had it so good”.
Perhaps that is part of the problem for us - we too have forgotten that there is a challenge that goes with being chosen!
What does it mean for me?
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