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Select Exegesis
August, 21 2013

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Sr. Betty Jane Lillie, S.C.

Is 66: 18-21 Ps 117: 1-2 Heb 12: 5-7, 11-13 Lk 13: 22-30

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time                    Betty Jane Lillie, S.C.



                In the literary form of the Synoptic Gospels –Mark , Matthew, and Luke—we experience the earthly ministry of Jesus with his disciples in the pattern of a journey that begins in Galilee and moves down toward Jerusalem and then back to the heavenly kingdom.  Along the way the Evangelist has Jesus teaching his disciples about the end of the age with the characteristics that are needed for being saved. 

                The host of the heavenly banquet is clearly meant to be the Messiah (Lk 13: 29-30), and the dinner is described again in Lk 14: 15-24.  There is a kind of separation parable involved in the description, for the evil doers are rejected from the banquet and the faithful are brought in to eat in the kingdom of God. 

                “Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Lk 13: 30)  Those who are unreceptive of the teaching of Jesus will not enter the banquet, and those who are not thought to be invited will come into the kingdom because of their openness to Jesus and his word. 

                We notice at the beginning of our passage that someone asked Jesus, in effect, how many people or perhaps which people would be saved.  That, of course, was not the question that ought to have been asked.  Jesus avoided a direct answer, and instead responded with intuitive references to the proper attitudes that are needed for entering the kingdom of God. 

                Under the heading of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are subsumed all those who entered the covenant with the Lord.  Some people of Jesus’ historical time may have dismissed the former covenanted followers of God’s word, and thus may have set themselves to be at the head of the line when the owner of the house stood at the open door to receive his guests.  To their dismay the owner closed the door to them because they just were not on the proper wave length for being involved in his kingdom.  Their supercilious disposition was not acceptable to membership at God’s banquet.

                In our second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews we have a reflection on the place of discipline in the Christian life.  Discipline is used in the sense of a learning process in which God works for our good and shares with us his holiness.  For while the discipline of holiness may seem a burden it eventually yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  (Heb 12: 5-13)

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