Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C September 1, 2019

First Reading
Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29
Humble yourself and you will find favor with God

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 68:4-7,10-11
The just rejoice and exult before God.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24
You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Gospel Reading
Luke 14:1,7-14
When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor. 
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place. 
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

Meals played an important role in the society in which Jesus lived. More than a time for sharing nourishment, they were a time to share ideas and to model different aspects of social relationships. In Luke’s Gospel, the places that a person ate (at the home of a tax collector, 5:29), the people with whom a person ate (sinners, 5:30), whether a person washed before eating (11:38), and, as is the case here, the place that a person sits while eating are all important. The narrator says Jesus tells a parable, but it is really wise advice to both guests and hosts about finding true happiness at the heavenly banquet.

Jesus warns guests to wait before taking their places at the table lest they be asked to move if someone more important arrives. This is more than just a lesson about dinner etiquette. It is advice on how to find your true place in the Kingdom of God. Jesus advises hosts not to invite people who would be expected to repay them to dinner but to invite those who could not repay: the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. This is where real blessings can be found.

In these sayings, Luke gives us not only advice on how to approach the end times but also on how to live according to Jesus’ vision of a good society. Luke’s Gospel also advises us how the Church must be part of bringing about this society. It is yet another example in Luke’s Gospel of the reversal the kingdom brings about.

Family Connection

Parents and children often enter into “negotiations” over how much allowance is to be earned at certain ages. Typically, when a child seeks an increase in allowance, parents will attach an increase in chores and responsibilities for them to better earn the increase. Talk about what kind of allowance you received as a child and what kind of responsibilities your parents expected of you to earn your allowance.

Explain that in this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus talks about doing good deeds for others and expecting nothing in return. Read aloud Luke 14:1,7-14. Ask your children how they would feel if you told them to take on more chores without ever expecting another raise in allowance. Emphasize that Jesus teaches us that it is our duty as his followers to take care of the needs of others and to do so without expecting repayment. Discuss what other types of rewards we can find when doing good things for others.

Point out that we sometimes fall into the trap of wanting too many things and that, in the Our Father, we pray for “our daily bread,” meaning that we pray for only that which we really need in life. Conclude this time together by praying aloud the Our Father.

Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings

Bible Catechism – Lesson 2

Lesson 2:
Inspiration Of The Bible

1. Must we believe in the inspiration of the Bible?

Yes, the inspiration of the Bible is an article of Faith which cannot be denied without sin.

2. What is meant by inspiration of the Bible?

Inspiration of the Bible means, in the first place, that those who wrote the Bible were impelled to do so by God.

3. What else is meant by inspiration of the Bible?

Principally that those who wrote the Bible were protected from error while writing what God impelled them to write.

4. Is there a special name for that protection of the writer from error?

Yes, it is called “biblical inerrancy.” It means that there are no errors in the Bible.

5. What proof have we that the Bible is inspired?

The Catholic Church, which is infallible, teaches us so.

6. Does not the Church itself rely on the Bible for proofs of its infallibility?

Besides those found in the Bible, the Church has many other proofs for its infallibility.

7. What general proof have we for the inspiration of the Bible?

Besides many others, we have Our Lord’s constant references to the Old Testament as the word of God, while the early Christian Church testifies to the inspiration of the New Testament.

8. Are all the parts of the Bible inspired?

“For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost …” (Leo the XIII in Providentissimus Deus, E.B. 124, 127)

9. Does the inspiration apply to the originals only, or to the translations also?

Both: It applies absolutely to the originals, and to the translations insofar as they are faithful to the originals.

Bible Catechism – Lesson 1

Lesson 1:
Bible Definitions

1. What does the word “Bible” mean?

The word “Bible” means “book.”

2. From what language is the word derived?
(Etymological definition)

From the Latin “Biblia,” which in turn comes from the Greek.

3. Is the Greek word for what we call the “Bible” in the singular or in the plural?

In the plural, which means that it should be translated “the books”.

4. Why did the Greeks use the plural form?

They used the plural form because the Bible is not one book but a collection of books.

5. Is the Latin word for what we call the Bible in the singular or in the plural?

It is in the singular and, therefore, should be translated “the book”.

6. Why does the Latin use the singular form?

Because the Bible is the most important book there is, since it is the Word of God.

7. What does the Bible contain?

The Bible contains chiefly a history of God’s Revelation to mankind.

8. What does the Bible give us in addition to the history of God’s dealings with mankind?

In addition, the Bible gives us instructions in faith and morals.

9. Does the Bible give other instructions?

Certain books give detailed instructions for the carrying out of religious worship in the Old Law.

10. Did the Bible, as some seem to think, fall from heaven?

No; the Bible was written by man.

11. If the Bible was written by man, why do we say it is the written word of God?

Though written by man, we can truly say it is the written word of God, because it was written under the inspiration of God. 

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C August 25, 2019

First Reading
Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30
People will come from north and south, east and west, and take their place in the Kingdom of God.

Gospel LK 13:22-30

Jesus 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.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel reading is the third of three parables in chapter 13 that deal with the theme of the unexpected reversals brought by the Kingdom of God. The other two parables are about the tiny mustard seed that grows into a large tree and the small amount of yeast that makes a large batch of dough rise. All three are about the few and the many and the Kingdom of God.

As this parable opens, Luke reminds us that Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem. This journey, this exodus as Luke refers to it, makes up the entire middle of the Gospel. He is teaching as he goes. A question from the crowd gives Jesus the chance to make a prophetic statement. Luke uses this question device a number of times in his Gospel. A few weeks ago, the question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” led to the parable of the Good Samaritan. The question about will only a few be saved uses typical Christian language about salvation but also expresses the Jewish concern about whether everyone who calls himself a Jew is actually faithful to the covenant. This was a concern of the Pharisees.

Jesus answers that they must strive in the time remaining to enter through the narrow door because many will be trying to get in but won’t be strong enough. He then moves to a parable about another door. (The translation says “gate” then “door,” but the same Greek word is used.) Once all those entering the master’s house are in and he locks the door, there will be no way for others to get in. Those left outside may knock, but the master will say he doesn’t know them. Unlike the Gospel reading from a few weeks ago where Jesus was teaching about prayer, and we were told to knock and the door would be opened, in this parable, the master will not open and say he does not know us. People from the north, south, east, and west will take our place inside. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets will take our place in the Kingdom of God. Those who do not make it through the narrow door will be cast out to where there is wailing and grinding of teeth.

The image of the door is replaced in the final verses of the parable with the image of the heavenly banquet. Two passages from the Book of Isaiah influence the conclusion. Isaiah 43:5-6 speaks of God bringing Israel’s descendents back from the east and from the west, the north and the south. And Isaiah 25:6 speaks of the Lord providing a feast of rich foods and choice wines for all peoples on his holy mountain. The answer to the question if only a few will be saved is no. In the end, many will be saved, but many who thought they would be saved will not be saved. The parable is a prophetic warning to repentance in order to enter the kingdom. 

Family Connection

Families take advantage of certain days throughout the year to celebrate individuals in the family and to make sure that they know that they are not taken for granted. As a family, recall all of the days that someone in the family was celebrated in the past year—birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries, graduations, and so on. Next, challenge each individual to recall what gifts were received on the day(s) on which he or she was celebrated.

Emphasize that these days are intended to express appreciation in a special way but are not meant to replace the appreciation that we should always show. Point out how, at times, families can take one another for granted. Explain that in this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells a story about some people who took something for granted and paid a price. Read aloud Luke 13:22-30. Explain that, in this story, some people took it for granted that they could enter the house whenever they wanted, but the master locked the gate and would not let them in after hours. Point out that Jesus was warning his listeners not to assume that they will have eternal life in heaven and not to take this invitation for granted.

As a family, commit to showing appreciation for one another in the days ahead, striving to not take for granted any of the many things that family members do in their roles as parents and children.

Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings