Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time
August 24-25, 2019
“I come to gather nations of every language.”
Have you ever attended a family reunion or staff meeting and noticed the way that people choose where to sit? Even though the purpose of the gathering is to get everyone together, people tend to sit with those with whom they are most comfortable – the people who they already know the best; the people who speak their “language.”
The ancient Israelites were God’s Chosen People. God revealed Himself to them and chose them to share in an intimate relationship with Him. He worked many spectacular wonders on behalf of the Israelites in order to prove Himself to them. But, God also chose the Israelites to share this revelation with the rest of the world – and in this they fell short. They were happy to keep God to themselves. They wanted to keep Him in their comfort zone, among the people who spoke their language.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah speaks on behalf of the Lord when he proclaims, “I come to gather nations of every language.” All the peoples of the earth are the Chosen People! No language or culture or ethnic group is superior to another. Our awesome God invites his children from the four corners of the earth to see his glory, to sit at his table.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear that the one thing he does not want at his table is someone with a superiority complex. We must approach God’s table with humility; prepared to sit at the table with those who don’t look like us, those who don’t dress like us, those who don’t act like us, those who don’t speak our language.
What can we do to prepare for this challenge? Let’s get outside our comfort zones by sharing a smile, a greeting, a helping hand; and even more difficult, accepting a helping hand from those on the other side of the room, the other side of the fence, the other side of town, the other side of the continent. We may find that we can speak their language after all.