The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 1st September 2013

I have often heard people saying the last shall be first in a way that sounds very different to the way Jesus says it. In fact, many people seem to use this phrase in an angry or resentful way that seems to say "Just you wait!" Jesus, however, uses this phrase in a completely different way. In fact, he uses it in a way that undermines both anger and resentment. The point is that, in the kingdom, there is no first and last. There are no places of honour, no status symbols, no "best friends of the host". This is not a question of "come the revolution..." What Jesus is saying, moreover, is that the revolution, the only revolution that matters is the one that happens in the heart - conversion. Conversion is not about taking over the world but about being taken over by the kingdom - letting God in! Being first or being last doesn't matter where the only rule is love. Just like the man in the parable about the wedding feast who was thrown out of the banquet because he had no wedding garment despite the fact that he was invited at the last minute. When he was asked why he had no garment we are told that he was speechless - he said nothing, he had no words, he didn't have THE WORD! To have the word of God, and to keep it, that is the only criterion for participation in the kingdom. The categories of First and Last no longer make any sense. We have spent many years learning about how to be "better than" others. That is the essence of competition; it lies at the heart of an education system that operates a points system for entry to University; it is the basis for the structure of interviews for employment. The only question involved in becoming a disciple is: "Are you willing to do your best to try to live out the message of the Word of God in your life?" If the answer to this is even a tentative "yes" then you are already on the road. If you want to move beyond that initial "yes" to a deeper more convinced commitment to follow the Lord use the signs he has given you; use the teachers he has surrounded you with. On the path of the disciple there are many signs - peace, strife, happiness, suffering, shadows, joys - God very often points the way out to us through all the events of life. There are also many teachers - parents, friends, other travellers, those who have gone before us - people who know what it is to rejoice in the burden of carrying their brothers and sisters. This is a journey of many stunning panoramas and many shadowy roads but it is certainly a journey worth making - have a good trip! Possidius

Article posted on 28th of August 2013

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