Liturgy of the Sunday

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Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time


First Reading

Isaiah 66,18-21

I am coming to gather every nation and every language. They will come to witness my glory. I shall give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations: to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coasts and islands that have never heard of me or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory to the nations, and from all the nations they will bring all your brothers as an offering to Yahweh, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to my holy mountain, Jerusalem, Yahweh says, like Israelites bringing offerings in clean vessels to Yahweh's house. And some of them I shall make into priests and Levites, Yahweh says.

Psalmody

Psalm 116

Antiphon

Let all peoples praise the Lord.

O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples!

Strong is his love for us;
his is faithful for ever.

Second Reading

Hebrews 12,5-7.11-13

Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, do not scorn correction from the Lord, do not resent his training, for the Lord trains those he loves, and chastises every son he accepts. Perseverance is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any discipline is at the time a matter for grief, not joy; but later, in those who have undergone it, it bears fruit in peace and uprightness. So steady all weary hands and trembling knees and make your crooked paths straight; then the injured limb will not be maimed, it will get better instead.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 13,22-30

Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, 'Sir, will there be only a few saved?' He said to them, 'Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed. 'Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, "Lord, open to us," but he will answer, "I do not know where you come from." Then you will start saying, "We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets," but he will reply, "I do not know where you come from; away from me, all evil doers!" 'Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrown out. And people from east and west, from north and south, will come and sit down at the feast in the kingdom of God. 'Look, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

In the Gospel of Luke proclaimed this Sunday, someone asks Jesus, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" (13:23). The beliefs of that time were based on the conviction that it was enough to belong to the chosen people to be a part of the future kingdom. But this question seems to suggest that it is not enough to belong to the chosen people to obtain salvation. Jesus agrees, but goes further. He does not answer the questioner directly but instead speaks to all who are present, saying, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able" (v. 24). Jesus underscores the fact that the door is narrow, but still open. Time is running out, however, and the door is about to close. We need to enter, because the master of the house is about to get up and close the door. And if we are left outside, maybe because we were delayed by our own affairs, it will no longer be enough to keep knocking and boasting about how we belong, our good habits, or even everything we have done to be worthy. The master will not open.
This is why the central question asked by Jesus uses the metaphor of a door. We urgently need to follow the Gospel. We know this from experience: the door of selfishness is wide; it is always open and many people pass through it. The Letter to the Hebrews is right to remind us about correction, yes, the correction of our hearts and our behaviour. The Gospel is the door. It is narrow, but not in and of itself. It is narrow with respect to the many long branches that sprout from our selfishness. In order to enter this door, we have to cut off the branches of pride, hatred, greed, slander, indifference, envy, and many more. These branches have grown and thickened so much that they have made it impossible for us to walk through that door. Those who welcome the Gospel in their hearts are pruned. And it is true, as is written in the Letter to the Hebrews, that this pruning "always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (v. 11).