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Autor: Fr. Richard Gill, LC | Fuente: Sacerdos Institute
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
August 26, 2007. Homily. Readings: Isaiah 66: 18–21; Hebrews 12: 5–7, 11–13; Luke 13: 22–30.
 



21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C
Readings: Isaiah 66: 18–21; Hebrews 12: 5–7, 11–13; Luke 13: 22–30
Author: Fr. Richard Gill, LC

THEME OF THE READINGS
The readings this Sunday present us with the teaching that the salvation of God is extended to all the nations of the earth and it is our task to "proclaim his glory in distant lands", inviting all to the Kingdom of God (First Reading). In the Letter to the Hebrews we are reminded that we must persevere in trials, even as God uses them to discipline us because it is the loving discipline of a father with his sons. Finally, we are warned in the Gospel of Luke against presumption and the idea of easy salvation. Salvation involves the hard work of collaborating with the grace of God day after day, until the last day of our lives. It cannot be taken for granted. It is a task and a mission.

DOCTRINAL MESSAGE
The Alleluia verse today puts the readings in the proper context and provides the fuller spiritual and doctrinal content we should look to get across. "The Word of God became a man and lived among us. He enabled those who accepted him to become children of God" (John 1: 12, 14).

The most important fact of our relationship with God is that he has sent his Son among us and he has taken our nature to himself and sanctifying it. This is God´s embrace of fallen humanity and the source of our hope. We are not merely forgiven our sins and pardoned for our wrongs, but we are brought into a new condition: children of the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, heirs of the Kingdom. We have a new dignity as sons of God, entirely the fruit of the loving sacrifice and grace of Jesus Christ.

The challenge to every Christian, as a child of God, is to now live that new condition worthily. We must live up to the grace we have received, since last week´s Gospel emphasized that "from those to whom much has been given, much will be expected." There is a new style of life that is expected of a child of God, a more demanding morality and a more thorough living of charity. The Gospel calls us to a radically different path than we walked before, a call to continual growth in holiness. The Christian cannot stagnate nor do enough "just to get by."

The question put to Jesus, "Lord, are they few in number who are to be saved?" was an attempt to elicit a sympathetic answer from Jesus that most would be saved. Yet Jesus challenges his listeners not to presume God´s mercy. The way of life Jesus calls us to requires change, conversion, effort, renunciation, and apostolic zeal for the salvation of others.

Too many people simply assume they will be saved without really working at it. There is no evidence at all in the Gospel that such an idea was shared by Jesus.

The Christian life can seem like a struggle, full of trials and a long, hard slog to the end. Yet Jesus calls us to persevere to the end just as he did, faithful in all the big and small things, right up to our last breath. This is the testimony he gives us – to do the will of the Father at all times, up to death, even death on the Cross.

Yet we have the power and the grace to live this life because of our condition as children of God. We are not aliens or strangers anymore, nor does God consider us hopeless sinners and rebels. We are his children and he gives us all the grace we need to choose the true and good thing at each moment and to persevere to the end. We can count on his grace and go forward through life serenely and confidently because our Father loves us.

PASTORAL APPLICATIONS
In our modern culture we have lost the sense of sin because we have found so many ways to explain it away. Pop psychology teaches everything we do wrong is either someone else´s fault or the result of conditioning or impulses we cannot control. But we have to reassert the role of our free choice to know, embrace, and live out what God has taught us. On this we will be judged and our excuses will be in vain on the day we face God.

We need to live each day with the security and confidence of children of the Father, yet know that the Father has great expectations. He gives us all we need to succeed, but the salvation that he offers us is the fruit of a long and sustained effort to cooperate with his grace every day.

Hence, the importance of our moral choices – they make us into a certain kind of person, either good or bad. It is not enough to say our intentions were basically good, that we didn´t mean any harm. No, our actions must be consistent with our new condition as children of God. It is important that we examine our conduct and our intentions daily so that the spirit of the world with its rationalizations and calls for an "easy Christianity" or "Catholic lite" do not obscure our conviction that salvation is a struggle. Until our last breath, we need to fight to preserve the state of grace and trust in God´s mercy.

 
 

 
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