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Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

Reflecting on Luke 13: 22-30

What tempo are you most comfortable with these days? Do you purr along at a steady, fast pace, or do you tend to run a bit slow and easy? AARGH, people say, that hymn was SO SLOW. And I admit that I sometimes think, during congregational singing,  YIKES! WHERE’S THE FIRE? CAN’T WE SLOW THIS DOWN A LITTLE?

Music will give you guidelines, like prestissimo (super-fast), or largo (very slow). But one tempo marking is kind of charming: tempo justo (the right tempo). This is the tempo closest to the rhythm of a beating heart. You know, like singing the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” while administering chest compressions—it’s thought that keeping that song in your head will give you the closest thing to the rhythm of a beating heart.

We read today’s apocalyptic gospel and wonder, “Will I be left outside while everyone else is enjoying eternal bliss? Will I spend a lifetime enjoying the privileges of being first, only to be tossed to the back of the line when it really counts?” I think the answer lies in what tempo we’re taking our lives.

I don’t mean to say that we hurry too much, or hold back too much. I mean that there is a certain rhythm to being a human being, a certain reflection, a certain expansive graciousness, that finds itself beating at the same tempo as God’s heart. That, of course, is the right tempo, the tempo of the heavenly orchestra.

Tempo justo is, for example, the corporal works of mercy. That’s the music of heaven, the music of those reclining at table in the kingdom. I hope the Bee Gees are conducting.

In what ways do you feel a bit out of sync with the right tempo of your life?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Ordinary Time - Cycle C

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