Some Scripture commentaries suggest that Saint Luke aimed the ending of the prodigal son story at those in his own communities who wished to exclude some people from their Eucharist. Like the older brother, some in Luke’s faithful community may have resented the reconciliation of these wayward members.
Jesus cautions his audience about the cost of discipleship. Jesus will embrace his cross completely, giving his all. We his followers must do the same. Jesus urges us to give our all, carrying our own cross and following after him.
In today's Gospel account Luke recalls a story of a time when Jesus was a table guest of a leading Pharisee. The Lord challenges his listeners—and his host—to allow others to take the seats of honor. They must welcome the poor, those who are disabled, those who cannot repay the invitation.
You’ve heard these “travel hints” found in today's Gospel 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.
In today’s Gospel, we’re seeing the many faces of the early Christians for whom Saint Luke preached and wrote the Gospel. They must have faced persecution from outside--a harsh baptism of fire--and divisions internally, as these first-century followers of Christ put his message into practice.
Today’s Gospel is about preparedness, and having our priorities straight. Luke wanted his community to hear Jesus’ stern words about being prepared for the Master’s return. He also wanted them to hear Christ’s admonition about priorities. When more is entrusted to you, more will be expected.