Cycle C Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the first reading we hear from Isaiah that God desires to gather people from all nations.  God does indeed desire all peoples to respond to his call.  This sets up the response of Jesus to the question, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” The LORD tells the prophet, “I know their works and their thoughts.”  It is important to tie the second reading into this where the author of Hebrew states: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.”  In today’s world, discipline seems to be limited to sports or climbing the economic or corporate ladder.  Even among Christians “disciples”, discipline seems to be a nasty word that is to be avoided at all costs, because it may limit what “I” want.  Instead of enduring our trials we seek to eliminate all trials as unnecessary and evil because it conflicts with our desires.  Discipline in our world seems a cause not for joy but for pain, and we want to avoid all pain and struggles, even though ‘later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”
Jesus recognizes the need for discipline and doesn’t respond as some do today, with a feel good theology, that “everyone” will get to heaven and be happy.  He states, “Many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”  Some will be left “outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’”  Then some who call themselves disciples will say, “’We ate and drank in your company, and you taught in our streets.’”  How does he respond to them?  “’I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’”  This hardly sounds like a warm fuzzy Jesus who will welcome everyone into heaven, regardless of their behaviors.  He warns the disciples, “And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.”  Calling ourselves disciples of Jesus isn’t enough.  Saying “Jesus is my Lord and savior,” isn’t enough.  There is no discipleship without discipline.

Author: yuengerwv

Retired Catholic Priest

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