We are in the last week of the church calendar year. Yesterday we celebrated "Christ the King" Sunday and next weekend we begin Advent. We begin this ending week with a Gospel selection from Luke that appropriately challenges us and aids in our Advent preparation. This Gospel is also quite appropriate for this last week of the Season after Pentecost. This selection from Luke is a wonderful collection of "Endings and Beginnings".
Jesus takes some corrective action with his disciples who were preventing people from bringing their children to him. And then Jesus has a conversation with a wealthy ruler about how to gain entrance into the kingdom Jesus is proclaiming. And this concludes with Jesus bucking up his disciples who worry that they will not be able to meet the standards Jesus sets forth for entrance.
Although he provides some stern warnings and sets high standards that seem impossible to reach, Jesus also lets us know that God is in the midst of all of that work. That even though what he is saying may seem impossible, because of God's intimate involvement, nothing is impossible. Jesus, in 15 verses this morning, is demanding a re-ordering of how society operates, of how we operate in the world. Not only putting children first, caring for the poor, being faithful and honest and respectful, but also taking our gifts and talents and wealth and focusing them on others and not on ourselves. Jesus is directing us to use those things as tools to respond to the challenges of the world. Jesus is talking about the ending of a way of life and a beginning of a new way of life.
Jesus is demanding that we recognize, this last week of the Pentecost Season, that his coming into the world has changed how the world is to operate, and how his followers are to interact in that changed world. Impossible seeming, yes....an as yet unrealized dream, perhaps.....something to continue to strive for knowing God is in the middle of all of this? Absolutely.
Copyright 2o10, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.