21st Sunday in ordinary time
When we stop learning, we stop growing and when we stop growing, we wither and die.
Each of today’s readings is very much about listening, about learning and about resetting our love and service to each other and to the teachings of the Lord. They’re about what we learn from our own mistakes; about growing and thriving.
In sending out His peoples to the very ends of the Earth to witness His glory (Isaiah 66), in the corrections He urges us to make – sometimes painfully (Hebrews 12) – and by treading the path through the narrow gate (Luke 13), we learn the ways that God wants us to live and to be. His teaching, our learning; our growth, His covenant to us.
God leads and teaches those He loves, often through life’s bitter and harsh lessons: through suffering and pain, through loss and disappointment, hardship and grief, misunderstanding and rejection, loneliness and fear – the trials that sorely test our faith and our hope.
But if we stay the course, if we steady our trembling knees and smooth out the path we tread, our learning will not only bear fruit, but also peace and strength. God’s great covenant to us will be fulfilled; we will not die, we will live.
Those who listen to the Lord’s bidding, those who heed His calls, those who take stock, resetting their thinking and their actions in accordance with His lessons, will not be turned away. Although they may now be last, they will be first, and those now first will be last.
Phil Page is a member of the St Joseph’s Hobart Parish