This is the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. In 800 BCE Isaiah tells God’s chosen ones that inhabitants from nations all over the world will learn of God. Missionaries, themselves fugitives, were to go all the lands known at the time, our modern day Spain, France, Africa and Asia Minor, Eastern Europe and Russia, Greece. Those hearing of the glory of God will respond with praise and bring still more people to God. Not only that but some of these will even be priest and Levites. - a shocking awareness since custom dictated only those from the tribes of priests and Levites served in these roles.
Jesus reminds us that living our faith requires discernment. We are to choose the “narrow gate” instead of the taking easy paths. Paul exhorts us to “endure,” and to “not lose heart.” No matter what befalls us and how much pain it brings, God is with us. We are challenged to use the situation as discipline (from the Latin word discere meaning learn), learning to discover God despite “drooping hands” and “weak knees” made so by the difficulties of life.
Proclaiming God’s glory among the nations is our task as well as that of Isaiah’s audience. We do this by persistently, even relentlessly choosing the narrow path – no matter what. Then the fruit, produced by our lives, will draw others “from the east and the west and from the north and south” into relationship with God.