August 21, 2022

Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time August 21, 2022


It seems that at the most convention of devils there was serious concern about the number of people who were entering hell. The number had been falling for years. So the devils divided themselves into small groups to discuss how to solve this problem. A lot of ideas surfaced…some thought more use of social media would help; people would become so isolated from one another that they would quit caring for others. Another group suggested doing nothing; with the lack of respect for human life and the increasing violence and meanness in the world today, it was just a matter of time before their numbers would rise. And then the oldest devil stood up to address the convention; all they would have to do, he said, is whisper in each person’s ear that there is plenty of time to turn to God.

This morning’s readings speak about who belongs and who do not. The gospel specifically pictures Jesus in a discussion about who will be saved and who won’t; about who will be on the inside and who will stand outside weeping and grinding their teeth. Most of us believe that we somehow, please God, will find ourselves on the inside…that we are those who belong, because for the most part we do what is expected of us. Those who do not believe in God…those who make no effort to pray or do good for others…who think only of themselves and what they want, they will surely be in trouble on that final day. But Jesus offers a chilling note of caution; even some people who ATTEMPT to enter the Kingdom will be unable to do so. Jesus is clear; mere acquaintance with Him is not enough, turning to God requires all our attention, not just a passing glance. And what is more, the opportunity for salvation will not be available indefinitely. There is a time when the door is locked, and then it’s too late.

It’s tempting to think that getting serious about our faith is something that can wait until later. The oldest devil was right. Life is hectic and work is stressful; the kids are demanding and our calendar is full. We just need a little more time, and then we will get serious. But this is risky. The time for that serious conversation with God is not tomorrow, it’s today. There may not be a tomorrow.

We make choices every moment on how we are going to live our faith. We are either growing closer to God, or drifting away; growing comfortable with our sins, or repenting from them; living for ourselves, or giving ourselves in service to others.

The gift of salvation is offered to all, even those we think are the least deserving. Heaven might surprise us; surprised by who IS there, and perhaps even more surprised by who is NOT. If we have not done so, let us begin a life of conversion NOW, that we may be among those who will recline at the Lord ’s Table in the Father’s kingdom.

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