Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Some Who Are First Will Be Last

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4

“And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:29-30

Father, feed us at your Holy Table.  When we knock on your door, we implore you to answer it and let in the sinners on the other side to participate in your Son’s Paschal Feast.  Holy Spirit, nourish us with your gifts so we can go out to build the Kingdom.

Let's ask God to make us channels of his loving mercy: Lord, help us to receive your mercy and turn to you each moment. And please guide us in extending your mercy to others today. Now is the time for mercy. Amen.[i]

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.”  Thus, spoke the Mother Superior to the young novice Fraulein Maria in The Sound of Music.  I guess Mother Superior missed Luke 13.  When God closes a door, he locks it and does not open it for anyone.

Pity those who thought they would be saved merely by their “Jewishness” as Michael Card puts it.  If they do not repent and follow the Word, then will find themselves outside the locked door looking in as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob recline at table with the Lord and people from all corners of the globe – both Jews and Gentiles. Jews, who thought they would always be first as the “chosen people” may find themselves last.

Fortunately, this is not the FINAL judgment.  This is another story that Jesus tells as a parable warning to repent.  Even though Jesus is already on the road to Jerusalem, there is still time to change the direction in which you are looking for happiness.

Eating together was a common theme this year as we broke open the Gospel of Luke.  The dinner parties in Luke are many and are the source of blessings and strength for the work ahead. 
  • Levi (5:27)
  • Simon the Pharisee (7:36)
  • Feeding the Crowd (9:10)
  • Dinner with Martha and Mary (10:38)
  • Dinner with Zacchaeus (19:1)
  • The Last Supper (22:14)
  • The Meal at Emmaus (24:13)

That is why being excluded from this dinner is so critical.

Cardinal Dolan’s letter for Respect Life Month reminds us of consistent ethic of life that is at the heart of our faith:

God made each of us in his own image and likeness.  He desires to be united with us forever in a loving relationship.  God loves us, treats us with respect, and asks us to do the same with others.  Every person is sacred and must be treated with the dignity they deserve.  No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly—everyone should be cherished and protected!

If we turn away from our selfish sinful ways, the door to the banquet will be opened to us. If we want to be invited, we must change.  What change will you work on this month?

[i] From "Moved by Mercy" Letter for Respect Life Month, October 2016 by Cardinal Timothy Dolan  http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2016/2016-respect-life-statement.cfm

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