(21st Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 66:18-21; Hebrews 12:5-13; Luke 13:22-30)
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews displays common sense when he writes, “All discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain.” Who among us has not had this experience? Parents, teachers, bosses, and others have the responsibility to point out our mistakes and faults, and to do what it takes to correct them.
The Blessed Virgin found herself in that position. Her people were in need of correction on many counts. The specific sins that she enumerated, far from being a complete list, were a list of symptoms, pointing to an underlying spiritual illness.
Her purpose was to present a diagnosis and a cure. The disease was severe, so the treatment had to be aggressive, beginning with a bitter pill: submission.
In the time of the prophets, this had taken the form of exile. Isaiah, however, saw the silver lining in that cloud. “I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.” As a result, people of many nations would turn to the Lord.
In the time of exile, then, God’s people had returned to their faith. Unfortunately, as we read in today’s Gospel, Jesus foresaw a time when peoples from all parts of the earth would enter the kingdom of God, while his own people would be cast out; they would not be recognized when they sought admission.
The Beautiful Lady tells us that a better outcome is possible for those who take her message to heart. The discipline she proposes, like that mentioned in Hebrews, brings “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”
Isaiah prophesied the return of the exiles to God’s Holy Mountain. The phrase “Holy Mountain” occurs some twenty times in the Old Testament. For La Salette Missionaries, Sisters and Laity, the “Holy Mountain” invariable refers to the place in the French Alps where Mary appeared.
On her Holy Mountain she invites a different sort of exiles to return, not to any particular place but to the Lord himself, who makes holy any place of his choosing, where they may find peaceful fruit.