Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lord, do not say “I do not know you”

He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ ….. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Lk 13,22-30

Imagine we are in the eternal world. There is a big party on to celebrate Mother Theresa of Calcutta’s arrival. Poor people from each place and time are chatting, in elegant dresses and suits, each in his and her own language, the same way everyone could understand each other well on Whit Sunday. An orchestra of angels plays the blues and Louis Armstrong dances with a Chinese woman, telling her about the times he used to play it on earth. Some other angels go around the huge hall carrying trays rich in everything good, which they offer to the blessed ones. At a certain point, the blues stops and the archangel leading the band invites Armstrong to play “When the saints go marching in” for everybody. He accepts with a shining smile of extremely white teeth. Then he takes the trumpet, goes on the stage and invites Bing Crosby for a duet. The two friends start to play as they really can, together with all the people present, forming a sinuous parade unfolding in the hall. As the song ends and everybody goes back to his or her seat, the archangel invites the guests to drink a toast for Mother Theresa. In the middle of the party, they hear someone ringing at the entrance door and the servant angel goes and opens it: there are a man and a woman, freshly arrived from earth. The angel takes them in front of the Lord, who is sitting on a throne just next to the Father, and the Lord tells them: “Who are you?” “We have taken our walk through time – they answer – and now we are here. As soon as we came, we heard the sounds of the party and we knocked”. “I do not know where you are from” is the Lord’s comment. “How comes?” says the man “Every Sunday we attended the Mass and prayed and the lady, my wife, was also a catechist!”. “I do not deny it – the Lord reprises – but maybe you were not so regular in attending the poor and needy people, among which I always dwell. But today it’s a feast, and we eagerly welcome you among us”. “Actually, it is always a feast here – a higher voice says – and mercy always wins on justice”. The music starts again and the new couple starts dancing among everybody clapping. I have also invited Anna Maria to have a dance, and she has raised the edge of her dress and together we have started to twirl in an endless waltz.

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