August 21, 2022, Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 66:18-21 Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13 Luke 13:22-30
There are at least two different (but complimentary) themes at work in today’s readings. The first reading (Isaiah) and the gospel reading (Luke) illustrate the concept that God reigns over the whole world and desires to welcome people of all nations into his presence to enjoy his love.
The second theme is a carry-over from last Sunday’s readings…a reminder that the way of the disciple is not always easy. It sometimes involves suffering and the need for discipline. We see this theme presented in both the second reading (Hebrews) and the gospel. Let’s delve a bit deeper into this.
You may recall that, a number of years ago, highway construction projects often included signs that said: “Road Construction Ahead: Temporary Inconvenience, Permanent Improvement.” The sign was a reminder that the travelers could expect to endure such hardships as bumps, traffic delays, and other hazards during the construction process. However, once completed, the road would (theoretically) be better than ever. If I close my eyes and concentrate very hard, I can sometimes imagine those very signs popping up along my own life’s journey, metaphorically speaking. Let me explain.
Personally, I believe that God does not desire to see his children suffer. God hurts when we hurt. However, the Lord also knows that, in times of trial and suffering, we can learn some of the most important lessons of our lives. If we are pre-disposed to view these difficult times as occasions for learning and growth, we can develop character and wisdom in great measure. Our God can and will help us do this, if we invite him to accompany us on these difficult journeys.
God will help us to “strengthen drooping hands and weak knees”, as we prepare ourselves with a lifetime of faith, to enter into everlasting life.
Take a few moments this week to consider the following:
Can you recall a difficult time in your life when you suffered physically, emotionally and/or spiritually? What did that experience teach you about God and about the power of faith?
Who would you like to pass this important “wisdom” on to?
by: Bill Miller