A Note on Today’s Readings | Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost – Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

In the themes of the Sundays in this part of the year, we face some of the strongest challenges presented by our faith. We have reached the portion of the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus, nearing the final conflict, is preparing his followers for what lies ahead, not only for him but also for them in the remainder of their lives. So today’s Gospel is the account of the rich young man who discovers that there is more to salvation than following the Law. Jesus calls for a complete submission to God, even to the point of giving up everything. Only then can we gain what we really need.

The Old Testament reading from the prophet Amos presents a situation in which those who control Israel are so caught up in amassing personal wealth that they ignore the needs of the poor. That social injustice, God warns, will lead to the destruction of the society.

We are reading through the Epistle to the Hebrews during this period. This letter to early Christians presents Jesus as Savior, as high priest, and as the model for Christian living. In today’s passage the writer tells us that although God’s judgment lays all our failure open to God, we know that God’s response is that of the merciful high priest and therefore we may approach God with confidence.

Today’s liturgy is filled with challenge and with hope. We are faced with the demands of the Gospel and also with its promise of salvation to those who persevere. We are called to enter into the painful yet joyful project of God in bringing the kingdom into the lives of all people in our time.


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