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Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
1 Ephesians 6:1-9
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13Ab, 13Cd-14
Luke 13:22-30
The reading from Ephesians is one of the most misused in the entire Bible. For
almost nineteen centuries it was seen as a Divine endorsement of human social
authority systems, particularly the institution of slavery. In fact it suggests the
opposite, concluding, "you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no
partiality." The Psalm reinforces this latter interpretation, "The LORD is faithful in
all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and
raises up all who are bowed down." The Gospel passage is a challenging reflec-
tion on the journey to salvation rooted in discipleship and active effort rather than
being an inherent national birth right.
Faith has always spoken to the question, "Whither?" It speaks of a journey that
has a "from where" to an imagined or idealized "destination" The question is al-
ways posed in the "here and now" for a pilgrim at a real and decisive crossroad.
The journey has no fixed length and many subtle signposts that are easily
missed, but abundantly placed. The crossroads are frequent, but each "wrong"
turn has an escape, although some will seem impossibly difficult to negotiate.
However, there always is a star sailing above the road giving promise of guidance
and rest, even if it seems frequently obscured by clouds. We, both individually
and collectively, are that pilgrim. We call this journey "life," and in a very human
way, we are regularly reminded that it has an end.
Western Christianity has celebrated this end-of-life sensibility in a longstanding
autumnal tradition of the early November Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, pre-
ceded by a far more primitive festival of the nature of Death itself, called, All Hal-
low's Eve--"Halloween" in the contemporary vocabulary of commercial promot-
ers. Madison Avenue's version of Halloween is populated by cardboard skele-
tons, cute witches, and lovable demons, as a sanitized alternative to the horrors
of medieval imagination where real and regular plagues, famine, and pestilence
terrorized and decimated wide swaths of habitation. For most of human history