Twenty-First Ordinary

The Introduction 

Is there an end to God’s love for us? Scripture and tradition say no. God is love, by definition. And God is infinite, also by definition. So the boundaries of divine love would be impossible to circumscribe.

The question often hidden behind the query is: Is there an end to our chances to be with God forever? The answer to that seems to be yes. Or, as a local priest often says in his homilies, “Hey, time forecloses”. Time is among the first creatures God made to serve the divine purpose. Time and space make up the matrix that enables the rest of creation to exist. Yet Scripture tells us that all of creation, time and space included, will one day be rolled up like a carpet. Entering eternity necessitates the abandonment of time.

Time does foreclose. The door which has stood open since the dawn of the first day will one day be shut. Now’s the time to choose the rich embrace of God’s companionship and desire. If we choose to be strangers to this love, God will not insist.

Would people describe you as a loving person? How do you show your love to God and to others?

Open the door on love. Love generously, even when you’re not loved back. Put your love to work for people who will never meet you. Make your love an invitation for others to pursue you.

The Scripture (Luke 13: 23-24) The Narrow Door

Jesus said, “A lot of you are going to assume that you sit down to God’s salvation banquet just because you’ve been hanging around the neighbourhood all your lives. Well, one day you’re going to be banging on the door, wanting to get in, but you’ll find the door locked and the Master saying, ‘Sorry, you’re not on my guest list’”.

The Reflection

I’ve been lucky enough to travel overseas, and visit in Europe, especially my family’s ancestral region in Italy. I like planning for travel and reading guidebooks. Some of the advice you’ll find in those planners encourages you to prepare well, but then to take a risk and go off the beaten path, to sample local cuisine and customs and to be flexible and open to a change in your plans if something interesting presents itself.

That’s a good summary of the advice for disciples which Jesus gives in this week’s Gospel. You’ve heard these ‘travel hints’ for the discipleship road before: Enter by the narrow gate; be prepared for the Master’s coming; be open and flexible. Why? Because the Kingdom of God will include unexpected challenges. The people who will be welcomed to the table in the kingdom might surprise you, especially if you’re on the outside, looking in! These reflections from Luke’s Gospel encourage us to examine our own ‘travel plans’ as Christ’s disciples.

Are we making choices for the Gospel, even if they’re unpopular with the prevailing cultural values of Australian society? The Gospel road may be off the beaten path, but following it is the road to salvation.

The Commissioning

From here to the waiting world is just a few steps. We leave this place with confidence.
All: God will enable us to make the crooked paths straight, and the rough paths smooth. God will grant us freedom from the ways that restrict us, and boundless joy for our adventuring. God will give us love within our families, and trust within our deepest friendships. And God will never leave us in this earthly time, or when this time merges with eternity.
Go in peace, you are ready for the journey!
Thanks be to God! Amen.

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