Tag Archives: Diversity

21st Sunday of the Year – Calling all the nations

Study:  Consider a time when you were personally invited to participate in an event.  How did it feel?  How did you respond?

Pray:  Is there a difficult situation or decision confronting you right now?  Ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom.

Serve:  Are there people in your life who are struggling to respond to a circumstance in life?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 21st Sunday of the Year

Here are some key points that surface in the readings this week:

  • 1st Reading – The Lord comes “to gather nations of every language.”
  • Psalm – “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
  • 2nd Reading – Consider difficulties and trials as “discipline” in the faith.
  • Gospel – People will come from east/west, north/south to recline in the Kingdom of God.

A crucial theme emerges from the first reading, psalm and Gospel around the global call to all nations to draw near to the kingdom of God.  Language, race, color, and creed are not obstacles but rather variations of the diversity of God’s creation.  Simply put, all people are called to draw near to the Lord.  The invitation is open to everyone.

Of course, not everyone will listen and respond.  Some will reject the message, others will get caught up in distractions, while still others will pursue things that are contrary to a life in Christ.  Thus it is crucial to note that while all are invited, each person has the freedom to choose his or her own unique path in life.

The second reading to the Hebrews helps us to see the challenges of life as a form of discipline – where we face obstacles and grow stronger in God’s grace – which helps us grow as disciples.  Here the focus is not that life will be easy, but rather that in our trials we draw closer to Jesus Christ and become more completely sons and daughters of God.

How is the Lord calling you today, and what will be your response?  Where are the challenges in your life…and how will you respond?  We recognize that God’s invitation and daily difficulties come to all of us.  Today we reflect on how we respond to the Lord in a faithful, vibrant way.


21st Sunday of the Year – Gathered Together

Pope Francis WYD

Study:  When in life have I encountered a diverse group of people?  How did the experience change me?

Pray: What in my life needs to be touched by the Lord so I can relate with others as a disciple of Christ?

Serve:  Are there divisions in my life right now?  If so, how can I help bring unity and peace to the people in my life?

21st Sunday Readings

Watching Pope Francis during World Youth Day in Rio brought back memories of my own twenty years ago.  It was 1993 when I traveled to Denver, Colorado to see Pope John Paul II.  I was about to begin graduate theology in the seminary, and I thought that the experience would “be good” for me as I prepared for the priesthood.

I was right.

During that amazing week I treasured many rich and wonderful experiences, but one that will forever remain in my mind was the final mass.  I was leading a group of students who had hiked into the park site the day before, and as the evening passed we visited with people from around the world.

Everywhere you looked there were nations represented by young adults singing, dancing, playing music, and talking.  Walking among the groups I picked out many languages – Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, Swahili, Greek, Chinese – and others I did not recognize.

People were friendly!  If you stayed with a group they would get you to sing or dance with them, or else they would try to communicate – even when a language barrier was present.  On that night we knew in our hearts that despite our differences, we were united together as one family.

Isaiah today proclaims in the first reading that distance, language, and race will not keep God away from the nations of the world.  The Lord will set a sign among the peoples, inviting them to gather and stand united in the midst of God’s glory as one family and one community.

This proclamation reminds us that we, too, are invited to be open to one another, regardless of the differences that may appear.  For just as the Lord calls all together, so too do we recognize the unity we share as children created in the image and likeness of God.

We have many opportunities to express this unity everyday.  Do we show warmth and hospitality to strangers and guests?  Do we welcome others who speak or look differently from us?  Do we cultivate attitudes that respect others, despite our differences?

When we are open to other people, we begin to see as God sees.  We recognize that as the Lord’s children, there is much more that unites us than what divides.  We discover that God’s family is truly blessed by the differences that make us unique.