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August 25, 2013 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 25, 2013

This Sunday's Readings

First Reading
Isaiah 66:18-21

Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 117:1-2

Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13

Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30

People will come from north and south, east and west, and take their place in the Kingdom of God.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today's Gospel reading is the third of three parables in chapter 13 that deal with the theme of the unexpected reversals brought by the Kingdom of God. The other two parables are about the tiny mustard seed that grows into a large tree and the small amount of yeast that makes a large batch of dough rise. All three are about the few and the many and the Kingdom of God.

As this parable opens, Luke reminds us that Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem. This journey, this exodus as Luke refers to it, makes up the entire middle of the Gospel. He is teaching as he goes. A question from the crowd gives Jesus the chance to make a prophetic statement. Luke uses this question device a number of times in his Gospel. A few weeks ago, the question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” led to the parable of the Good Samaritan. The question about will only a few be saved uses typical Christian language about salvation but also expresses the Jewish concern about whether everyone who calls himself a Jew is actually faithful to the covenant. This was a concern of the Pharisees.

Jesus answers that they must strive in the time remaining to enter through the narrow door because many will be trying to get in but won't be strong enough. He then moves to a parable about another door. (The translation says “gate” then “door,” but the same Greek word is used.) Once all those entering the master's house are in and he locks the door, there will be no way for others to get in. Those left outside may knock, but the master will say he doesn't know them. Unlike the Gospel reading from a few weeks ago where Jesus was teaching about prayer, and we were told to knock and the door would be opened, in this parable, the master will not open and say he does not know us. People from the north, south, east, and west will take our place inside. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets will take our place in the Kingdom of God. Those who do not make it through the narrow door will be cast out to where there is wailing and grinding of teeth.

The image of the door is replaced in the final verses of the parable with the image of the heavenly banquet. Two passages from the Book of Isaiah influence the conclusion. Isaiah 43:5-6 speaks of God bringing Israel's descendents back from the east and from the west, the north and the south. And Isaiah 25:6 speaks of the Lord providing a feast of rich foods and choice wines for all peoples on his holy mountain. The answer to the question if only a few will be saved is no. In the end, many will be saved, but many who thought they would be saved will not be saved. The parable is a prophetic warning to repentance in order to enter the kingdom. 

    List of all Reflections:

    09/24/201426th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    09/23/201425th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    02/11/2014Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    01/29/2014Presentation of the Lord
    01/22/2014Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
    01/15/2014Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
    01/09/2014The Baptism of the Lord
    12/11/2013Third Sunday in Advent
    10/30/2013October 6, 2013
    10/23/2013October 27, 2013
    10/16/2013October 20, 2013
    10/09/2013October 13, 2013
    09/23/2013September 29, 2013
    08/21/2013August 25, 2013 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
    10/31/2012November 4, 2012 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
    10/24/2012October 28, 2012-Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    10/17/2012October 21, 2012-Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    02/29/2012Second Sunday of Lent
    01/18/2012Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
    08/24/2010August 29th
    08/17/2010August 22, 2010
    08/12/2010Assumption of Mary
    05/25/2009Pentecost The Birthday of the Church
    05/29/2008Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    10/16/200629th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    10/13/200628th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    06/28/2006Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    01/23/2006January 29th, 2006
    01/16/2006January 22nd, 2006
    01/09/2006January 15th, 2006
    12/28/2005New Years Day
    11/21/2005First Sunday of Advent
    11/14/2005Solemnity of Christ the King
    11/09/2005November 13, 2005
    09/27/2005October 2, 2005
    09/19/2005September 25, 2005
    09/13/2005September 18, 2005
    09/05/2005September 11, 2005
    08/31/2005September 4, 2005
    07/11/2005July 17, 2005
    07/07/2005July 10, 2005
    07/06/2005July 3, 2005
    06/21/2005June 26, 2005
    06/14/2005June 19th, 2005
    05/23/2005Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
    05/16/2005Holy Trinity Sunday
    05/05/2005May 8, 2005
    04/26/2005May 1st, 2005
    04/18/2005Fifth Sunday of Easter
    04/11/2005Fourth Sunday of Easter
    04/06/2005Divine Mercy Sunday
    04/05/2005Holy Thursday Homily
    03/25/2005The Passion of John
    03/14/2005PALM SUNDAY
    03/07/2005FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
    02/28/2005Fourth Sunday of Lent
    02/23/2005Third Sunday of Lent
    02/14/2005Second Sunday of Lent
    02/10/2005First Sunday of Lent
    02/07/2005Ash Wednesday
    01/31/2005Feb. 6, 2005
    01/24/2005January 30th, 2005
    01/17/2005January 23, 2005
    01/10/2005January 16, 2005
    01/05/2005January 9th, 2005
    01/02/2005January 2, 2005
    12/28/2004Mary, Mother of God - Jan. 1st
    12/26/2004Feast of the Holy Family
    12/13/2004Fourth Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 24: 1-6. Romans 1:1-7. Matthew 1:18-24.
    12/06/2004Third Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10. Psalm 146:6-10. James 5:7-10. Matthew 11:2-11.
    12/01/2004Second Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10. Psalm 72, 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17. Romans 15:4-9. Matthew 3: 1-12
    11/29/2004First Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5. Psalm 122:1-9. Romans 13:11-14. Matthew 24:37-44.
    11/22/2004The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122:1-5, Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43