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.”
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
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
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
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
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
So often the first or second reading does not form the core of a Sunday homily. In the US Catholic Bishop’s document “Fulfilled in Your Hearing, ” they are clear that the purpose of a homily to cast the light of the gospel into the lives of the listeners – and so, and rightly so, the gospel takes a preeminent place in the hearts and minds of Sunday worship. And yet there is beauty, truth and goodness in the other readings which, especially when from Acts of the Apostles or the Epistles, are the voice of a pastor speaking to a community of faith. Sometimes the words are comforting and sometimes challenging: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” How are we as Christians to understand this? Please take about 10 minutes and listen to a Sunday Sermon from Bishop Robert Barron unpack this one simple, challenging verse from Acts 4:12.
“I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” (Rev 14:1) And so begins today’s readings.
In her story “Revelation,” Flannery O’Connor tells a tale of a vision of salvation being encountered by the smug Mrs. Turpin. Her idea was that heaven was an exclusive banquet with just a few guests. The story had told of her unpleasant encounters with the “unsaved” (aka “not like me”) during the day. Later while sitting on her front porch at sunset, Mrs. Turpin is granted a vision from God. Despite all her self-assurances and beliefs, she was about to discover that God’s invitation is for more than just her and those she deems of sufficient moral character and behavior.
4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. 5 Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Luke casts the call of John the Baptist in the form of an Old Testament prophetic call (Luke 3:2) and extends the quotation from Isaiah found in Mark 1:3 (Isaiah 40:3) by the addition of Isaiah 40:4-5 in Luke 3:5-6. In doing so, Luke presents the theme of the universality of salvation, which he has announced earlier in the words of Simeon (2:30-32). Moreover, in describing the expectation of the people (3:15), Luke is characterizing the time of John’s preaching in the same way as he had earlier described the situation of other devout Israelites in the infancy narrative (2:25-26, 37-38). Later, in 3:7-18 Luke presents the preaching of John the Baptist who urges the crowds to reform in view of the coming wrath (Luke 3:7, 9: eschatological preaching), and who offers the crowds certain standards for reforming social conduct (Luke 3:10-14: ethical preaching), and who announces to the crowds the coming of one mightier than he (Luke 3:15-18: messianic preaching). Continue reading
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Salvation. Jesus’ words in v. 9 are literally: “Today salvation has happened to/in this house(hold), because also this one is a son of Abraham.”
What is the “salvation” that has happened? “Salvation” (soteria) is a rare word in Luke. All the other occurrences are in the Benedictus (Zechariah’s song of praise – 1:69, 71 & 77), which are in references to John the Baptist’s ministry. The related word also translated “salvation” (soterion) occurs in the Nunc Dimittis (Simeon’s cry of praise in 2:30) and in a quote from Isaiah (3:6). So outside of two songs and an OT quote, the noun “salvation” only occurs this text. (Neither of these words occur in Mt or Mk and only once in John – although we have already encountered a related verb “to heal/save” (sozo) and will again in v. 10 below. Continue reading