Sunday Soundbite for August 21, 2022

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C
August 21, 2022

I’ve been lucky enough to travel overseas and visit in Europe, especially my family’s ancestral region of Italy. I like planning for travel and reading guidebooks. Some of the advice you’ll find in those travel 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 today’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!

As we listen to these Sunday selections from Luke’s Gospel, we’re encouraged to examine our own “travel plans” as Christ’s disciples. How inclusive is our parish community? How have we prepared by study and prayer to speak up for Christian values? Are we making choices for the gospel, even if they’re unpopular with the prevailing cultural values of our American society? The gospel road may be off the beaten path, but following it is the road to salvation.

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