What we skipped

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. There are only so many Sundays in Ordinary Time and so sometimes, the Church will skip over sections of Scripture as we continue to unfold the story of Jesus. Here in Year C readings, our gospel suddenly moves from Luke 12:49-53 (last week) to our gospel for this weekend, passing over 12:54-13:21. What did we miss?

Luke 12 began with warnings and admonitions regarding the coming judgment which reach their conclusion with a sobering call for repentance. Just as the debtor on the way to court (12:59) is warned to make every effort at reconciliation, so also Jesus uses the sayings about calamity in 13:1–5 and the parable of the unproductive fig tree in 13:6–9 to make the same point:

  • read the signs of the time and judge correctly;
  • repent now, the time is short; and
  • be assured of the full measure of judgment.

The sayings from this gospel of Jesus follow upon the parables of the kingdom (Luke 13:18–21) and stress the same points as above, adding, that great effort is required for entrance into the kingdom: “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough” (Luke 13:24) and that there is an urgency to accept the present opportunity to enter because the narrow door will not remain open indefinitely.

Luke 12 speaks to the why, how, when and the effort needed. It is natural, human, to ask: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” And so starts our gospel reading for the coming weekend.

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