Friday, August 19, 2016

21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C, 2016



1. I will be traveling to Bethesda, Maryland the week of September 12-20, 2016.  I will be doing mission talks at all the masses at Saint Bartholomew.

2. Please let me know if there is anyone who needs to be confirmed.

3.  There is a priest retreat in Anchorage from September 5-9, which I will be attending.  It is a yearly retreat help at the Holy Spirit Retreat House in Anchorage.

4.  A new website is underway.  It will use the name  There will be a link to this blog from the website, but this blog will have a different name.


21 Ord C 2016 Gate Is 66:18-21, Heb 12:5-13; Luke 13:22-30

The Air Force sent me to Iceland for a year.  In Iceland all the sheep freely roam the island.  There are no fences.  At the end of the year, all the shepherds get together on their horses and round up the sheep.  The sheep are divided up.  Each owner receives an equal number.

In order to divide them, they have to drive them through a narrow gate into a corral.  The shepherds whoop and holler to get them through.  They might even kick a sheep to keep it going.  The sheep bock, bleat loudly, and struggle to avoid going through the gate.  After the sheep are divided up, their wool is shaved.  The Icelanders make beautiful wool sweaters, hats, and gloves.  Then the sheep are set free for another year.

The Gospel talks about a narrow gate.  The narrow gate is tougher to go through than the wide one.  The choice of gate we go through is up to us.  Entrance to the narrow gate involves sacrificial love and leads to life.  Entrance to the wide gate involves self-satisfaction and leads death.

The Icelandic sheep sacrificed a few hours of roaming free time to be shaved of their wool.  The wool helped the community.  The sheep did not have a choice to go through the narrow gate, but we do.  Jesus gives us a choice.

To drive us through the narrow gate Jesus teaches us about Disciplined self-sacrifice and suffering.

Self-Sacrifice might mean giving up a couple hours a week to volunteer your time to the church.  Disciplined Sacrifice is a long term giving of ourselves for the good of the church.  Sacrifice will light up the path leading to the narrow gate like the yellow brick road.

Through sacrifice, we learn to love effectively; we find God in a more intimate way.  That closer relationship with God also helps us to find the narrow gate.

The gospel gives us hope and advice for finding the narrow gate.  Luke’s states, “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”  Loving others and being last involves suffering and sacrificing.  Those approaching the Narrow Gate know how to love and let others love them.  They realize that submitting to the discipline of the Narrow gate leads to eternal life.

Just who will be saved?  Jesus does not speculate about who will be saved.  He commands us, “Strive to enter the narrow gate.”  Don’t focus on who will be saved, but on the discipline of the narrow gate.  It is the struggle of resisting the wide gate that leads us into the narrow one.

If we choose to run with the crowd through the wide gate, Jesus is standing there like an aircraft marshal, whooping and hollering, corralling us toward the narrow gate.  If we are stumbling toward the narrow gate, Jesus is encouraging us forward with open arms (484 Words).


Isaiah 66: 18-21: I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.  I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.  They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.  Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Hebrew 12: 5-7, 11-13: You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: "My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges."  Endure your trials as "discipline"; God treats you as sons. For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline?  At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.  So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.  Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

Luke 13: 22-30: He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.  Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them,  "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.  After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.'  And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.'  Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!'  And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.  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."


The Lord who prepares the banquet for all will not turn away from our petitions.

That Holy Scripture and the sacraments nourish and strengthen all believers, let us pray to the Lord.

That students and teachers starting a new school year make Christ and his truth the center of their studies, we pray to the Lord.

That our community not lose heart under the Lord’s discipline but learn humility and patience through it, we pray to the Lord.

For those of our community who have died (especially …………………………): and for comfort to those who mourn, we pray to the Lord.

In Silence let us now add our own intentions for our families, our community, our country, and the world…………………...………..We pray to the Lord.

God of Abraham, you know our works and our thoughts.  Gather our prayers and shower down your blessings.  We ask this through  Christ our Lord.

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