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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

21st SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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Our first reading this Sunday is taken from Sirach, a book of practical advice for living. In this passage, we are reminded that everyone loves a humble person, especially God. The humble person keeps a balanced outlook on people and events. This reading advises us to listen to wiser minds than our own. By listening, we ourselves become wise. There is so much terribly wrong about what we see and hear in the world: terrorism and war, violence and shock on TV, family members who go off the deep end, religious persecution, civil strife ripping countries apart, etc. So much is out of focus. Where is God in all this and what is our future, if we are believers? We shake our heads and wonder if the world isn’t “going to hell in a hand basket?”  In the pagan world  of the this Gospel Story Jesus lived, surrounded by Romans, a devout person could think that they, and not the pagans, were on the right path, entitled to a well-deserved place in the kingdom of God. After all, they took time in a busy schedule to come out to hear Jesus. In addition, the person in this Sundays Gospel Reading reveals some devotion by calling Jesus, “Lord.” Since that title is a post-resurrection one, Luke might be voicing a concern of his own Christian community. Jesus’ response should make us church folk, a bit uncomfortable.

He would always appreciate a compassionate disciple; but his response to the question “Lord will only a few be saved?” doesn’t indicate he is speaking to such a disciple. Most likely it was someone who felt part of Jesus’ inner circle; feeling they had made it, but others would not. You just know that Jesus is going to shake the person back on their heels. In The gospel stories Jesus has a habit of telling religious people not to get smug; in fact, the so-called “devout and religious” were the ones who rejected Jesus the most. He was most critical of the judgmental religious leaders who were the very ones to condemn him in Jerusalem – where he is determined to go… and where he asks us to follow and that includes the cross that Jesus carried to Calvary.

Pope Paul VI said in his famous encyclical, “Evangelii Nuntiandi” that people listen more to witnesses than to teachers. Pope Paul was also right when he said that the most convincing messengers of our faith are those who speak from their personal experience of God and faith they are true witnesses. Perhaps, they were sick and God healed them, or gave them strength and endurance. Their marriage was in a rut and a Marriage Encounter weekend revived it. They had lost their way and were too consumed by their jobs and then they refocused on family and all the pleasures and ups and downs that this brings.

 we are called to be authentic witnesses to the Gospel message as Gods people, and the message of hope  that we have and hold dear is for everyone in these times where so few have so much and so many have little or nothing  at all let us not be afraid as we go forward in our daily lives and faith Journeys to be humble people of faith. Having Faith in God and in eachother.

 

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