LISTEN: Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time — Year C

Our readings today address people who are disappointed. However, they offer a universal hope of salvation – not a guarantee, but a promise that all are welcome.

In the first reading, we hear the prophet Isaiah’s hopeful and inclusive vision of a God who desires to save people from all nations, calling out the lie that our God is for us alone and against ‘them’ – indeed there is only us and God. In the letter to the Hebrews, the author wants to encourage the people to persevere despite their sufferings and to live out their faith courageously. In St Luke’s Gospel Jesus is asked whether salvation is for the few, or for the many. His response is to tell us how to receive salvation – through the narrow door, which could only take one person at a time. This means that God is waiting to individually and personally welcome us. Our entrance through that door will depend not on which group of people we belong to, but whether we have a personal relationship with God that allows him to recognise us.

We are encouraged not to judge others, but rather to strive to live our Christian calling to the best of our ability by focusing on ourselves. One way of doing this is – following St Ignatius – to always consciously try to put a good interpretation on what other people are saying, and to put our efforts in our daily conversation into saving our neighbour’s statements, rather than condemning them.

Join Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ as he reflects on the readings for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time — Year C.

Read the texts in your Bible or hover your mouse over the references below to see the texts.
Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13; Luke 13:22-30

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Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia. @mcharlesworth
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