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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 66:18-21
Psalm 117:1, 2
Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13
Luke 13:22-30

Who is welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven?

The Jews saw themselves as a chosen people, the only ones who would get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  They did little to share the faith with others.

So, it would sound astonishing to them to hear Isaiah speak as a prophet of the land and say that the Lord will gather people from “distant coastlands,… bring all your brothers and sisters from ALL the nations,… from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.

Really?  ALL the nations?

Yes, all the nations.  We MUST make salvation by God’s mercy known to all.  We need to “go out to ALL the world and tell the good news.”

Is this easy?  No, as Jesus says we must enter through the narrow gate.  Being disciples requires effort on our parts.  It requires discipline.  It means confronting our trials with God at our side.

I want to talk a little bit more about what it means to “confront” our trials.  I don’t mean to go out and confront people who we think cause our trials.  When I say “confront” I mean that move forward into what challenges us trusting that God walks with us.  With this trust in God we are made stronger.

When we move forward in faith against trials we also serve as a witness to others that we really do believe, not just when things are good but in all things.

Being people of faith requires effort.  It STARTS with coming to church each Sunday but that is not all it requires.  To those who said, “We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets” Jesus replied, “I do not know where you at from.

It is not enough just to show up.  We need to take what God has given us and be good stewards by using our time, talent, and treasures to tell the good news.”

Different people have different gifts.  At different points in our lives, we can use what we have been given differently.  For instance, a young teen may shovel snow for their elderly neighbor while the elderly person who is infirmed helps by praying for others and offering up their sufferings for the salvation of the world.

The newly retired person may find themselves with all kinds of free time to be able to volunteer in ways that help others.

For those who work, it can be making sure we do a good job even when it doesn’t seem to have to do with our faith.  It doesn’t matter what we do.  For instance, farmers are very important to us.  Without farmers, we would have no food to eat.  Without custodians, our bathrooms could be in awful shape leading to sickness.

Of course, we all need to learn how to talk about faith.  I believe the most important place to start is by telling others what draws us to church.  Why is it we come here?  Then we go out and tell the good news.

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