21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
August 21, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







O God, who cause the minds of the faithful
to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place
where true gladness is found.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading  Is 66:18-21

Thus says the LORD:
   I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
   they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
   from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
   to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
   to the distant coastlands
   that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
   and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
   as an offering to the LORD,
   on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
   to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
   just as the Israelites bring their offering
   to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm  Ps. 117:1, 2

â„Ÿ. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Praise the LORD all you nations;
   glorify him, all you peoples!

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
   and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.

Second Reading  Heb 12:5-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
   “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
      or lose heart when reproved by him;
   for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
      he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
   God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
   all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
   yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
   to those who are trained by it.

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.

Gospel Acclamation


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.”

Reflection Questions

 Are you able to see trials and difficulties as valuable in any way?

How narrow is your gate at the present time?

How do you understand "salvation?"

Catena Nova

Let no one despair of being saved. For if the diseases of wickedness that oppress us are great, there is an almighty mighty doctor coming who can deliver us. But all of us should remember that the same Son of God who comes in meekness to save us will come again in severity to judge us.  (Venerable Bede)

God cries out that the kingdom of heaven is for sale. The glorious bliss of this kingdom surpasses the power of mortal eye to see, mortal ear to hear, mortal heart to conceive. If anyone asks the price that must be paid, the answer is: The One who wishes to bestow a kingdom in heaven has no need of earthly payment. No one can give God anything he does not possess, because everything belongs to him.  Yet he does not give such a precious gift entirely gratis, for he will not give it to anyone who lacks love. After all, people do not give away what they hold dear to those without appreciation. The desires of God and all the saints will be the same as yours in heaven. So since God has no need of your possessions but must not bestow such a precious gift on anyone who disdains to value it, love is the one thing he asks for; without this he cannot give it. Give love, then, and receive the kingdom: love and it is yours.  (Anselm of Canterbury)

It is not by your actions that you will be saved, but by your being. (Meister Eckhart)

No one can be saved without divine light. Divine light causes us to begin and to make progress, and it leads us to the summit of perfection. Therefore if you want to begin and to receive this divine light, pray. If you have begun to make progress and want this light to be intensified within you, pray. And if you have reached the summit of perfection, and want to be super-illumined so as to remain in that state, pray. (St. Angela of Foligno)

God displays in a marvelous manner the incomprehensible riches of his power in the vast array of things that we see in nature, but he causes the infinite treasures of his goodness to show forth in an even more magnificent way in the unparalleled variety that we see in grace. In a holy excess of mercy, God is not content solely with granting to his people, that is, to the human race, a general or universal redemption whereby everyone can be saved. God has diversified redemption in many ways, so that while God’s generosity shines forth in all this variety, the variety itself, in turn, adds beauty to his generosity. (St. Francis de Sales)

You know that there is no middle course, and that it is a question of being saved or lost for all eternity. It depends on us: either we may choose to love God eternally with the Saints in Heaven after we have done violence to self here below by mortifying and crucifying ourselves as they did, or else renounce their happiness by giving to nature all for which it craves. (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)

All would wish to be saved and to enjoy the glory of paradise; but to gain heaven, it is necessary to walk in the straight road that leads to eternal bliss. This road is the observance of the divine commandments. Hence, in his preaching, the Baptist exclaimed: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ (St. Alphonsus Liguori)


God, Save Us

      I was stopped one time on the Toronto Island at a drinking fountain while on a bike tour by an earnest young man who asked me, “Sir, have you been saved?”  “From what?” I asked him.  “Your sins,” he said.  “Only the ones I have stopped committing.  For the others I go to confession — to a Catholic priest.”  That pretty much ended the conversation.

     So what does it mean to be “saved.”   The person who questioned Jesus probable had a very “earthly” idea in mind.  There was a lot of anticipation God was going to intervene in human history to restore Israel’s fortunes and install a successor to King David on his refurbished throne.  Others were expecting a spiritual renewal that would overthrow a corrupt priesthood and a cleansed Temple would be overseen by a worthy high priest.  Others thought a prophet like Moses would appear on the scene whose preaching would finally bring about a moral revival among God’s   when the Law and the Covenant would be adhered to by a holy people.  So“salvation” meant you would be in on the action in the near future.  Of course, all such hopes were dashed when Vespasian and Titus moved against Jerusalem destroying the city and its temple.

     So it’s no wonder Christians began to think of salvation differently, remanding it more and to an afterlife in heaven — though never forgetting the body and material universe will share in salvation at an indefinite point the future when the resurrection of the dead takes place and a new heaven and a new earth comes about as God brings creation to fulfillment.

     Enter Christian Nationalism.  And its Catholic counterpart, “Integralism.”  The former may be defined as “the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way” (cf. Paul D. Miller, “What is Christian Nationalism?”; Christianity Today; https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/february-web-only/what-is-christian-nationalism.html). The latter sees “political authority as ordered to the common good of human life, that rendering God true worship is essential to that common good, and that political authority therefore has the duty of recognizing and promoting the true religion” (cf. Edmund Waldstein, “What is Integralism Today?”; Church Life Journal; October 31, 2018; https://churchlifejournal.nd.edu/articles/what-is-integralism-today/). 

     Despite our tradition of Church and State operating in their respective spheres without mutual interference, both tendencies are evident in public life today.  And both have become  “messianic movements” which have identified a “leader” toward whom they exhibit unflinching loyalty.  Among Evangelicals it has become commonplace to see Donald Trump as a King Cyrus figure — the king who liberated the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity whom even Isaiah referred to as an anointed “messiah.”  Like Cyrus his latter-day counterpart can alone can bring about a restored America true to its founding ideals.

     For his part, self-styled “traditionalist” Catholic Steve Bannon in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas earlier this month said that the former president’s election in 2016 and his 2020 loss were both “providential.”  Commenting on the speech, Paul Baumann writing in Commonweal (commonwealmagazine.org; August 12, 2022) noted 

I found Bannon’s shrewd assertion that even Trump’s loss was “providential” particularly audacious. It buys into a familiar historical belief of millennialists, who prophesize the world is going to end on a certain date. When the world does not end as foretold, some devotees lose their faith, but others find a way to explain the prophecy’s failure as part of a larger plan—a necessary testing of the believers’ true faith. Clearly, this is how Bannon is recasting Trump’s loss. How MAGA loyalists respond to the “stolen election” is the true test of their faith in Trump, but also of their belief in God’s providence. Emphasizing that Trump is in this fight to the death, Bannon is rallying a millennial army. Anything less than total commitment will usher in defeat at the hands of the ungodly. Bannon stressed the same point again and again: despite Trump’s loss, the battle has only begun.

     Please note the violent rhetoric reminiscent of the Zealots prior to the destruction of Jerusalem despite Jesus’ warning about those who live by the sword dying by it.  By the way, there was plenty of “Christian” imagery and sloganeering on January 6 — what the events of the past week and the escalation of violent rhetoric make many fear was just a dress rehearsal for what’s coming.

     Of course, there are many Christian voices decrying these developments and eschewing any association with these impulses.  Among them is Presbyterian minister Dr. Robert Montgomery (yahoo.com; August 14, 2022) who writes,

Those promoting Christian nationalism are not only showing their lack of faith in the power of God in their lives and the world, but are actually hurting the witness of Christianity to the power of God. They hurt others and the world by hiding God’s power in the many failures of Christians. A Christian shares concern for the nation with everyone of good will. The best preservative for a nation is justice in which everyone is treated equally and with dignity. That means equal access to the land, equal opportunities to education, and equal opportunities to vote. Justice also demands that governments be governed by the consent of the governed. This is the basic requirement of democracies. The task of Christians is not to control nations, but to advocate for justice in nations.

     Which is why “salvation” lies beyond history in God’s future however much we work to advance the Kingdom of God.  A Kingdom, by the way, where outsiders are welcomed in, brothers and sisters from all the nations, says Isaiah, while Jesus adds how 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.

     So those opposed to such a vision had better be careful as they try to implement their own, For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last and, worse, risk hearing those awful words,  I do not know where you are from. (G)



Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Web Site)

For unity in the Body of Christ: that Christians from east and west, north and south, may work together in confronting evil, poverty, and disease so that the Gospel may be made known in deeds as well as words.

For all who are facing difficult choices, particularly about health issues, relationships, or employment: that the Spirit guide them to inner freedom, integrity, and wholeness.

For fortitude: that we may resist the easy path of violence, greed, prejudice, and self-righteousness, and strive to encourage and support one another in following Christ in our unique vocations.

For all who are suffering from storms, floods, or other disasters: that God will comfort them, give them strength, and guide them to the resources that they need

For refugees and those fleeing warfare: that God will open a path to safety, provide food and shelter for them, and help them to find acceptance in their new communities.

For those working to promote racial and inter-religious harmony: that God will guide their efforts and help all to give witness to the dignity of each person.

For peace: that God will heal the divisions and mistrust in society, help us to speak respectfully of one another, and to pursue the common good.

To the banquet of your kingdom,
O God of the nations,
you have invited people of every race and tongue.
May all who are called to a place at your table
come by the narrow way
to the unending feast of life.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offerory Hymn


When he proclaimed the Word of God

To those who wandered from the way,

Upon himself the prophet brought

The curse of those who’d gone astray.


Christ, like the prophets long before

Gave warning of the coming strife

And told that truth would bring us pain,

That death precedes the light of life.


Should opposition wear us down,

Let eyes be fixed on Jesus’ Cross

Which gives protection to our faith,

Safeguarding us from ev’ry loss. 


Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn



From ev’ry side the faithful come

From nations far, from tribes unknown

To take their place at the feast

And sing hosannas fore the throne.


There some will try to enter in

With expectations of a place

And find the door is barred to them

Who lived, defiant of God’s grace.


Disdain not, then, the Lord’s reproach;

Make straight the path with willing hand,

For thus will come the fruit of peace,

And we shall in God’s Kingdom stand.