TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME


In the Gospel parable Jesus addresses both the guests and the host. At first glance, his suggestion to the guests to take the lowest place of honor seems like a bit of human wisdom that might save someone from embarrassment of being told to go to a lower place. Jesus, however, is not particularly concerned about the little embarrassment of having to take a lower place in a banquet. He is concerned about the possibility of a “Big Embarrassment” before the judgment of God, the host who has invited us to the banquet of life. This call to humility reminds us of another parable – that of the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray. The tax collector, who would not even raise his eyes to heaven, went home justified, rather than the proud Pharisee who had exalted himself before God.   


   What Jesus tells us about the way we extend hospitality is most radical in its implications. The natural human tendency is to treat those people well who have or who will treat us well. Jesus tells the banquet host, “When you hold a dinner invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. You will be blessed because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME



   As He continues His fateful journey to Jerusalem, Jesus answers the question on how many will be saved by showing how to enter into salvation and how urgent it is to strive now, before the Master close the door. Jesus wants us to ask the question: “Are you prepared to be saved, choosing the narrow gate?” The readings tell us that salvation is universal (First Reading), but it needs total commitment from us, even to the point of accepting pain and suffering in the process (Second Reading and Gospel). 
                               
The non-Catholic doctrine on salvation: Once saved, we are always saved, in spite of our future sins, and even apostasy. We are saved by the shedding of the blood of Jesus and when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. They teach that we are saved by faith alone, even if it is accompanied by inaction.


Catholic teaching: Salvation is a past, present and future event, and we may lose it or regain it many times, depending on the number of sins committed, their severity, and how we avail of the sacraments in order to regain the grace which enables us to do good works. It is a gift from the Lord and we have to fully cooperate with Him for it to be given to us. It is a process with many steps: Baptism, actual grace, faith, good works, participation in the sacraments, penance, indulgences and keeping the commandments. If lost, it is regained through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which only a Catholic priest can administer. After living a life of fidelity to God, we hope to hear the words, “Good and faithful servant, you were faithful in little things, enter into the joy of your Master.”

TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME



   Our theme for this weekend is, we build God’s Kingdom when we rid ourselves of every sin and other attachments, and fix our eyes on Jesus, who is the source of truth. Receiving God’s truth carries with it a responsibility. As His followers, we are responsible to be Christ’s ambassadors in building His Kingdom on earth through our way of life and witnessing. Along the way, the devil will always tempt us with bitterness, anger, desire to hurt others and exact revenge, discouragement, and even unbelief in God, brokenness, sinfulness and dissension. If we turn away from sin, “hate” things in this world and serve God and not mammon, we demonstrate that our soul is more important than our body and our relationship with God is above all forms of human relationships.