A final reflection

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. Today we consider a reflection from the Scripture scholar Alan Culpepper, who, at the end of his commentary [277-78], provides an interesting story from Franz Kafka:

His parable “Before the Law” is the story of a man from the country who seeks admission to the Law. When the doorkeeper tells him he may not enter, he looks through the open door, but the doorkeeper warns him that he is just the first of a series of doorkeepers, each one more terrible than the one before. So the man waits for the doorkeeper’s permission to enter. For days and then years, the man talks with the doorkeeper, answers his questions, and attempts to bribe him, but with no success. The doorkeeper takes the man’s bribes, saying he is only doing so in order that the man will not think he has neglected anything. As the man lies dying, he sees a radiance streaming from the gateway to the Law. Thinking of one question he has not asked, he beckons the doorkeeper and asks him why in all those years no one else has come to that gate. The doorkeeper responds: “No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. Now I am going to shut it.”

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Assumptions about membership in the Kingdom

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we looked at some widely held views about how many would be saved – both in 1st century Judaism and in our modern times.

Jesus envisages some of those rejected as pleading that they had known the Lord (v.26). They ate and drank where he was; he taught where they were. They cannot claim that they ever entered into a compassionate understanding of what he was teaching. There was no acceptance, no response; their response was insincere, if at all. It is a sad case that, in every age, there are people under the illusion that they were following Jesus.  While they claim that they ate and drank with him, they fail to understand they had no intimate fellowship; they heard his teaching but did not accept it as the word of God to be put into practice (8:21). Continue reading

How many will be saved?

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we looked at the idea of being saved and striving. But the question of “how many” still lingers. How many will be saved? Jesus does not answer directly, but urges his questioner and others (“Strive” is plural) to make sure that they are in the number, however large or small it proves to be (v.24). Continue reading

Being Saved

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. Our reading continues Jesus’ formation of his disciples for their time to take up the mission of the proclamation of the kingdom of God. Jesus makes several references to the seriousness of the proclamation of God’s reign and to the need for a sober decision of discipleship to undertake the journey to Jerusalem with Jesus, a journey that will end in suffering and death (Luke 9:22–23). Continue reading

Will only a few be saved?

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. Our reading begins:

22 He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” 

One should also note that the stability of teaching in the synagogues has given way and returned to the travel motif that began in 9:51 when Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem.  Again he is passing through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. (12:22) Continue reading

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? Continue reading

When we fall asleep…

I have to admit that I still had last week’s gospel on my mind as I prepared for this week’s homily. Last week, I mused about the apostles’ request for Jesus to teach them to pray, his response of the Lord’s Prayer, and then the parable about knocking, asking, requesting. Last week, I wondered about our attitude as we pray. Of course, there are many moods and attitudes that accompany us to moments of prayer, but the one that concerned me was the disposition in which we expected God to be our valet, our concierge, and prayer was simply the currency of exchange. Continue reading