Sunday, August 21, 2022

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

In other years: Pope Saint Pius X (1835-1914)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 64:7-24 The Election of an Abbot

Mass: Is 66:18-21; Resp Ps 117; Heb 12: 5-7, 11-13; Lk 13:22-30

Glorify Him, all you peoples!


So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.
(Hebrews 12:12-13)

I read a line from a homily recently, preached by an Abbot at a monk's Solemn Profession. It's a simple line that speaks volumes: "We are transformed only by being limited." In a way, it is a commentary on Jesus' answer in today's Gospel, to a voice from the crowd who asked, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" (Lk 13:23). Jesus replied: Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough (Lk 13:24). No one said discipleship was going to be easy. Jesus certainly didn't. We are meant to pick up our cross and carry it. Jesus certainly picked up His and helps us to carry ours. The "road to glory", as dear Father Paschal, OSB, of happy memory aptly called it, is narrow. The Gospel way limits us in ways that we would have never expected. If we just take the first and greatest commandment, which also happens to be Saint Benedict's first tool of goods, namely, to love the Lord our God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and the second, to love your neighbor as yourself (Rule of Saint Benedict, 4:1-2/Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27), we will be limited and busy at that. We put aside our needs and wants and look to God for strength, mercy, and compassion and then extend it to our neighbor, without exception. We "try to be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another." Furthermore, "no one is to pursue what she judges better for herself, but instead, what she judges better for someone else" (Rule of Saint Benedict, 72:4-7). The good news is that we do this together, united in faith and prayer, and we will be transformed. The "Lord shows us the way of life" (RB Prologue 20). We look to the Lord, and "clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see Him who has called us to His kingdom" (RB Prologue 20-21). We go forth "and prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may He bring us all together to everlasting life" (RB 72:11-12).

Therefore we intend to establish a school for the Lord's service. In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love. Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love. Never swerving from His instructions then, but faithfully observing His teaching in the monastery until death, we shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve also to share in His kingdom. Amen.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, Prologue 45-50)


Today's photo: I managed to get a few good shots Friday morning in our garden of delights. This one kicks us off and inspires us to go out to all the world and tell the good news.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

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