Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (August 21st) – Cycle C



By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.”)

1. Who does the  Lord come to gather and what will they see? Isaiah 66:18


2. Who will we set among the nations? Isaiah 66:19


3. What does Matthew 24:30 say about a sign and the glory of the  Lord?


4. Who will he send to the Nations? Isaiah 66:19


5. What had the coastlands never heard, what had they never seen, and what shall the fugitives do? Isaiah 66:19


6. Who shall they bring from all the nations as an offering to the Lord and how will they bring them? Isaiah 66:20


7. Where will they bring them and what is this place called? Isaiah 66:20


8. How did the Israelites bring their offerings to the house of the Lord? Isaiah 66:20


9. What will the Lord do with some of them? Isaiah 66:21


Personal – As you approached the altar of the Lord this past week, in what way has your vessel (your body) been made clean, and in what way can you make it clean now?




(“For whom the Lord loves he disciplines;”)

1. What kind of words were addressed to you as sons and what were they? Hebrews 12:5-6


2. With what should you not disdain nor lose heart? Hebrews 12:5


3. Who does the Lord discipline and who does he scourge? Hebrews 12:6


4. What are you to endure as the discipline of God and how does he deal with you? Hebrews 12:7


5. At the time discipline is administered, what does it seem like? Hebrews 12:11


6. What does it bring forth later to those who are trained in  its school? Hebrews 12:11


7. Where do you find peace and how is peace made? John 16:31,33, Colossians 1:19-20


8. What are the fruits that come from the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22


9. How did God manifest his own justice? Romans 3:24-25


10. What must you strengthen? Hebrews 12:12


11. What are you to do with the paths on which you walk, and what will happen when you do this? Hebrews 12:13


Personal – In what way has God, who loves you, disciplined you this week?  In what way can you make straight the paths you walk on and what are you looking toward, according to this lesson?




(“Try to come in through the narrow door.”)

1. What was Jesus doing as he went through cities and towns and where was he going? Luke 13:22


2. What did someone ask him about being saved? Luke 13:23


3. What did Jesus say about the narrow door and what will happen to many? Luke 13:24


4. What did he say about the master of the house? Luke 13:25


5. Knocking on the door, what would you say to the master, and what will be his reply? Luke 13:25


6. What will they then begin to say and what will they say he did in the streets? Luke 13:26


7. What will he say about where they come from and then what does he say to them? Luke 13:27


8. What does he call these people? Luke 13:27


9. Who will enter the kingdom and how do you know if you will enter? Matthew 7:16-21


10. What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22


Personal – On a daily basis, what fruits of the Holy Spirit are most evident in your life?  Which ones are not evident?  What can you do so that all of the fruits are evident in your life, especially to your family?




(“Steadfast is his kindness towards us.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 117:1-2.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 66:18-21

The incredible gift of being able to participate and to see God’s glory is now granted to all nations and tongues.  Many nations and people will go against Jerusalem and God will bring his wrath against them and send those who escape as missionaries to all those foreign lands.  They will bring back to Jerusalem the good news and will behold the sign that the new heavens and the new earth have come.  The list of foreign people was symbolic of all the world: Tarshish in Southern Spain, Put and Lud in Africa, Tubal around the Black Sea, and Javan representing Greece.

These nations will bring back God’s people to the holy mount of Jerusalem.  We might reflect on this passage that as Israel brought the good news of salvation to tie nations, so will these nations in turn be responsible for Israel’s final conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today we are one of those Gentile foreign nations. The question we might ask ourselves is: “Is our country an example of God’s holy nation?” If not, what must we do to become, once again, God’s holy people?

Today we see in our Gentile religion of Catholicism, priests, and deacons performing priestly functions; we need to pray for them, bless them, and above all love them.  The Israelites made their special offerings to the Lord in clean vessels.  We are called to make our offerings, which will be ourselves to the Lord and we have to be clean vessels.  We do this by loving God with all our mind, heart, and soul (Deut. 6:4-5) and then by loving others as he has loved us (John 15:12).


HEBREWS 12:5-7, 11-13

This passage from Hebrews exhorts us to pattern our lives after Jesus Christ and to allow God to discipline us as we are establishing this pattern.  It is never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but like a loving Father,  he does not want his child to do anything that will bring harm to himself.  Who loves his child more, the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains, and even disciplines the child to help him learn what is right?

A loving Father’s discipline is a sign of God’s deep love for us.  When we are being corrected by God, we need to see it as proof of his love and ask him what he is trying to teach us.  We can respond to discipline in several ways: (1) we can accept it with resignation; (2) we can go into self-pity, thinking we do not deserve it; (3) we can be angry, resentful, and bitter at God for it; or (4) we can accept it gratefully as a proper response from a loving Father.

God pushes us to our limits and requires of us a disciplined life.  We will be able to continue as we follow Christ and draw upon his strength.  It is then that we can use our strength to grow and to help those who are weak and struggling.  We must live our lives so that others will follow our example.  We have a responsibility to them if we claim to live by Christ.  We have to ask ourselves, “Does my example of life make it easier for others to believe, follow and mature in Christ?”  We also must be sure that our actions will not confuse and mislead others into following a life of sin.

Our daily response to prayer, scripture, and church fellowship will help us to establish the pattern of being a disciplined disciple of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


LUKE 13:22-30

This is the second time Luke has reminded us that Jesus was intentionally going to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).  Jesus knew that he would be faced with persecution and death in Jerusalem, yet he pressed on toward the city.  His determination to follow the will of the Father should characterize our lives too.  When our Lord gives us a course of action, we must steadily move toward our goal, regardless of the obstacles along the way or the potential hazards that await us.  Even the prospect of death did not turn Jesus away from his mission.

The question, “Will only a few be saved?” (v.23) was asked by one of his followers.  This gave Jesus the opportunity to mention once again the many difficulties encountered in following him.  He does not directly answer the question, but he does say that many will not be saved.  Finding salvation requires more concentration and commitment than most people are willing to bear.  Salvation is not a doctrine or a set of rules, it is a person and his name is Jesus Christ.

It is obvious that we cannot save ourselves and it is not possible to work our way into God’s favor.  But, there are many who are under this illusion today, like the ones in this passage who were following Jesus but had no intimate fellowship with him.  They heard his teaching but did not accept it as the word of God to be put into practice.  The work Jesus referred to is the establishment of a deep personal relationship with him, whatever the cost is here on earth.  We need to have a hunger and thirst for his Holy Word, we need to establish a quiet time every day of our lives and learn to abide in him (John 15:7).  We dare not put off this work, the door will not stay open forever.

Jesus’ words, “away with you evildoers,” (v.27) are meant as a challenge to you and me to redirect our steps toward Jerusalem with Jesus while there is still time.  The people in this passage were eager to know who would be saved, and Jesus explained that while many people knew a lot about him, only a few had really accepted his forgiveness. Just listening to his Word, attending church services or admiring a few miracles is not enough.  We need to turn away from sin and turn to and trust in Jesus Christ to save us.

There will be many surprises in God’s kingdom.  Many great people here on earth (in God’s eyes) are virtually ignored by the rest of the world.  What matters to God is not one’s earthly popularity, status, wealth, or power, but one’s personal commitment to Jesus Christ. We need to make sure that we put God in first place so that we will join the people from all over the world who will find their places in the kingdom of heaven.



The first reading tells us that God’s glory is available to all nations.  The second reading challenges us to pattern our lives after Jesus Christ.  The Gospel clearly reveals that we cannot save ourselves.

Let us take the incredible gift of faith and become disciplined in our response to that gift and develop a deeper personal relationship with Jesus by accepting his forgiveness of ourselves.  Then let others see the fruit of our faith by forgiving others, especially those who are close to us.

Posted in Bible Studies.