Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 21, 2016
“For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
Isaiah speaks of a great gathering of people from everywhere on their way to Jerusalem, from which the Lord will take “priests and Levites” (and maybe musicians?). The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of the importance of discipline. But Luke recounts Jesus’ words promising surprising reversals at the eschatological banquet. Those who thought they were strong and well prepared may not make it through the door. Perhaps their pride prevents them from seeing the illusion of self-sufficiency. Christian asceticism is radically different from dieting or body building. Its goal is always spiritual purification that leads to surrender to God’s will and to transparent manifestation of God’s truth , beauty, and goodness (i.e., love) alive in us. The dinner invitation is there, but we can’t muscle or weasel our way in.
Father, teach us to love as your Son loves: to empty ourselves in the ministry to which you have called us. Give us joy and perseverance to ready ourselves as humble and responsive instruments in your hands. We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Shrine of St. Jude