21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Isaiah 66:18-21 Hebrews 12: 5-7, 11-13 Luke 13:22-30
Theme: Heirs of the kingdom
The readings for this 21st Sunday of the year in ordinary time, present to us an insight on what we need to do if we want to be part of the heavenly banquet at the end of our earthly lives. In the 1st reading and the gospel reading, we see the generosity of God towards us as his children and heirs of His kingdom. This generosity was presented in God’s concept of inclusiveness. This stems from the fact that, as many that are ready to be true children of God and who live their lives according to the gospel imperatives, will inherit the Kingdom at the end of time. This is a message of hope, taking into consideration the inclusive nature of the invitation presented to us in the 1st reading and the gospel. We are all called to be part of this wonderful invitation.
In the above light, Jesus answers the question presented to him in the gospel very prudently by giving us an insight into what will help us to be part of those who will be saved at the end of time. And that is; ‘we must work hard to get in through the narrow gate’. Like it is often said, nothing good comes easy; ‘we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling’. Thus, there must be a Good Friday before Easter Sunday. The big question today my brothers and sisters in Christ is, are we ready to enter through the narrow gate? To enter through the narrow gate means we are ready to drop some baggage that we are carrying which could stand as hindrance against us at the end of time. Some of these baggages may be habits we have that do not promote the imperatives of the gospel and do not represent us as heirs of the kingdom.
This will help us to appreciate what St. Paul said to us in the 2nd reading of this Sunday. It is a good father that chastises his children, and that is exactly what God is doing with us at different times in our lives. We can see this in his relationship with his chosen people, the Israelites. When they go astray, he disciplines them by allowing them to be defeated and conquered in war. But when they retrace their steps and correct their mistakes, he brings them back to himself again. He wishes us the best at all times, but disciplines us when it is necessary. In view of this my brothers and sisters in Christ, we may be going through one challenge or the other at the moment, have you taken time to reflect deeply about it and seek the face of God? What you need may just be only going to him with a humble and contrite heart; you also have to be truly sorry for your mistakes and plead for his mercy. He is ever willing to welcome us back like in the story of the prodigal son in St. Luke’s gospel (Luke 15: 11-32).
Dear friends in Christ, we are all encouraged to make honest and sincere effort to enter through the narrow gate; Jesus himself. The more we make effort to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures, the brighter our chances of attaining salvation at the end of our earthly pilgrimage. Thus, we must strive to ensure that Jesus makes this journey with us at all times. Humanly speaking we may say it is very difficult or impossible; but with God everything is possible. May God bless his words in our hearts! In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you!