SOUL FOOD for Hungry Adult Communities: August 25 2013, Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Gospel: Luke 13:22-30. First Reading: Isaiah 66:18-21. Find these in your Sunday Missal or in your Bible, or click here for Mass Readings.
Isaiah 66:18-21. ‘I am coming to gather every nation and every language. They will come to witness my glory. I will send some to the nations… to the distant coasts and islands that have never heard of me or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory to the nations.’
Luke 13:22-30: ‘Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem…’Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them: ‘try to enter through the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.’
You may find yourselves standing outside, knocking on the door, saying ‘Lord, open to us.’ But he will answer ‘I don’t know where you come from.’
‘We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets.’ “I don’t know where you come from!’ …‘You yourselves (will be) thrown out. And people from east, west, north, south will come and sit down at the feast in the kingdom of God.’
We all love to keep some people out,- ‘they don’t belong’, ‘they shouldn’t be here’, ‘they’re not part of us!’, and so on. We like to think of ourselves as the insiders, and of course we usually think that we have it made. In other words, we close ranks, and think that we are the Only Ones, and the Best.
Our Jewish brothers and sisters did it (see the Gospel, today). Catholics do it, also, and our Muslim brothers and sisters,- we each tend to think that ‘we have arrived’, that we are ‘saved’, that we will be getting into heaven (whatever that means), and that those others probably won’t.
Jesus was having none of that, today! He tells us that heaven (again, whatever that will mean) will be a huge surprise for us. We will be amazed to see certain people by the right hand of God, – but our surprise won’t be anything like that of others us might see US there! Let’s see what today’s Gospel event and parable tells us.
Can I tell you this?- I love Liquorice All Sorts! In fact, I love all sorts of all sorts! But first,
about today’s Readings:
‘I don’t know where you come from’,- said Jesus twice, back to back. ‘I don’t know where you come from’. Is the Master saying to them (meaning us) ‘Where you are coming from and where I am coming from are two very different places!’
Or, to quote an old saying ‘We might live in the same square, but we don’t move in the same circle!’. Is the Master saying :we’re not even on the same wavelength,- I don’t find you among my ‘Friends’, because you never confirmed me as your friend. You pressed ‘Decline request.’ . You kept deleting me as your friend! So, I don’t know where you are coming from, right now, at this moment.
Jesus continues: But there are a lot of other people who are on board with me, they are on the same path or road as me, – they are of one heart and mind with me. They know where I am coming from and I know where they are coming from. And you will be amazed when you see them,- young, longhaired, with tattoos and rings: or from other lands and far-away
places, various different colours and nationalities and even creeds. Their ears might not have heard of me, but their hearts are just like mine, just like our heavenly Father’s. I know where they are coming from. But you, you are staying outside, you aren’t really a follower or fan at all. You seem to think that merely being a born Catholic (or Jew, or Muslim, or whatever) is quite enough to entitle you (en-Title you) to get inside the kingdom of God. This ‘kingdom’ is a gift, an invitation to everyone, but for the moment you decline. I would love lots and lots of people to come in, but it’s a decision that only you can make, -will you open your heart and life to this gift I offer you? Will you confirm me as your ‘friend’, and confirm my teachings ( a ‘narrow door’ into a great treasure awaiting you)- all you need to do is ‘come to me’ and open your door to me as I would love to open my door to you.
‘I don’t know where you come from’- can you hear me inviting you? Will you ‘enter the
narrow door’ of welcoming me, deciding for me, -and then you will find yourself at a great banquet with All Sorts, from North, South, East and West.
You see, as I said, I love ‘All Sorts’,- including Liquorice All Sorts- and All Sorts of people! Including you. Are you ready to love me, to welcome me? I’m still waiting, with longing. My invitation is to people everywhere in the world. Including you. When will you press ‘Confirm’, instead of ‘Decline request’? Look at my Face, first. Later, look at my Book!
Do you yet know where I come from?
(Fr. Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R. firstname.lastname@example.org)