Autor: Fr. Richard Gill, LC | Fuente: Sacerdos Institute 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
August 26, 2007. Homily. Readings: Isaiah 66: 1821; Hebrews 12: 57, 1113; Luke 13: 2230.
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C Readings: Isaiah 66: 1821;
Hebrews 12: 57, 1113; Luke 13: 2230 Author: Fr. Richard Gill,
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.
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
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.
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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