The coming weekend brings us to the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The Gospel of the day, from Luke, has Jesus answering the question, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Jesus offers several responses including the image of the "narrow gate" and a parable about the master of the house who responds to those knocking on his door, seeking entrance. Finally, the Lord speaks of all those who will come to enter the kingdom and those who will be cast out because "some who are last will be first and some who are first will be last."
This Gospel text prompts all of us to ask a few questions:
"Will we make it through the narrow gate?
Will the Master of the house hear us when we come a-knockin'?
Will we be among the first or among the last?"
The first reading, from Isaiah sets us up for the Gospel with an image of those who will come from distant coastlands to know and enjoy the glory of the Lord.
Between these two texts is a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews regarding the "discipline" endured by those who are truly children of the Father. This somber reading ends on a high note, promising those who are weak (many of us!) a path to healing and strength.
These scriptures include hard sayings for a summer's day (above the equator) and are deserving of our serious attention. Take a look now lest the Lord's word take you by surprise this weekend.