21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
21st Sunday / Ordinary / C
August 20-21, 2016
St. Thomas Aquinas, Ames, Iowa
Fr. Jon Seda
This weekend we are excited to welcome back our student parishioners, with a special welcome to those who are new to our parish. This is your parish. You are not visiting someone else's parish while at Iowa State. This is your parish and we are glad to have you with us.
We see a contrast in today's Gospel. Jesus speaks of a gathering of people from many nations, from the east and the west, from the north and the south. This is what we have seen this past week in Ames. And it comes to life in a particular way here at St. Thomas Aquinas. Here I have given Holy Communion to people from every continent in the world, except Antarctica. And that is because not many penguins are Catholic!
But in the same Gospel, Jesus also speaks of entering through a narrow gate. Perhaps one could say living a focused life. One of my favorite authors, Fr. Ron Rolheriser, often says that the problem with most of us is not that we are bad, but that we are busy. We easily get distracted by all the little things of this world that we miss out on the kind of life God wants for us.
Next weekend we will ask all parishioners to register in our parish, and to offer their time and talent to our community. This weekend our focus is on inviting student parishioners into small groups. Resident parishioners can join a group now as we have some groups open. But later in the year is when we will have a bigger push for resident parishioner small groups.
Our student small groups have grown by leaps and bounds the past few years. I often hear students tell me that it is one of the best parts of their Iowa State adventure. To me, small groups are one of the best ways to live a focused life during these busy years. In a large university like Iowa State, the support of a small group really helps students succeed not just in academics, but succeed in life.
I now invite one of our student parishioners to speak about small groups.
Whether we are 18 or 80, today Jesus invites us to enter through the narrow gate, to live a focused life, a life worth living.