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...there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last
Luke 13:22-30

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Sermon Week Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 13:30


God's ways are not our ways. God's thoughts are not our thoughts:

As high as the Heavens are above the earth, so high are My ways above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts.

Thus says the Lord in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah (Is. 55:9). The truth of this Divine statement is nowhere more apparent than in today's Gospel Lesson in which Jesus says, "Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last" (Lk. 13:30).

This is one of those Biblical texts in common usage, but on a superficial level. It is quoted more as a popular maxim than as serious Biblical instruction. We hear it repeated frivolously in the manner of "Too many hands spoil the soup" or "Look before you leap." The trouble with popular maxims is that often they are contradictory. For example, "Too many hands spoil the soup" can be countered by "Many hands make light work." "Look before you leap" can be countered by "He who hesitates is lost." But "The last shall be first and the first shall be last" is not just another bright saying we can use to score points in a given situation. It is irrefutable Gospel Truth.

A man who was suffering from constant headaches visited his doctor. "Doctor, I don't know why I keep on getting these awful headaches," he said. "I don't drink like so many others do. I don't smoke like so many others do. I don't run around at night like so many others do. I don't overeat like so many others do. I don't..." The doctor interrupted at this point. "Tell me," he said, "this pain in the head you complain of, is it a sharp, shooting kind of pain?" "Yes," the patient replied, "that describes it perfectly. A sharp, shooting kind of pain!" The doctor then made his diagnosis: "Simple," he said, "your problem is that you have your halo on too tight. All you need to do is loosen it a bit."

We like to think we're a "cut above." We [...]

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