Call to worship
23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus requires radical discipleship. Following Jesus means risking everything and being ready to take up the cross of wounded creation and whatever harms her.
- To the point: Discipleship requires renunciation and calculation. Those who wish to follow Jesus must renounce everyone and everything that gets in the way of a single-minded response to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciple. At the same time, disciples are not naively to follow Jesus. They must calculate and consent to the cost — the price is giving their all, even their own life. The One who calls gives disciples in return something beyond calculation — fullness of new Life.
- Connecting the Gospel (Luke 14: 25-33) to the first reading: Wisdom reminds us “the deliberations of mortals are timid.” Jesus, however, challenges us to be anything but timid. With bold calculation and conviction, we are to embrace the cross. This is the way of discipleship.
- Connecting the Gospel to experience: We take much time and care over major decisions — buying a house, marrying, having children, taking a new job. Nevertheless, each of these brings surprises and new challenges, not initially considered. The same is true for committed discipleship — even after we make the informed decision to follow Jesus, there are still many surprises on the road of discipleship.
Jesus bluntly challenges the crowd to take up the demands of discipleship with eyes wide open. Discipleship demands radical and calculated choices.
The king waging war shows how shrewd calculations can bring fullness. What king would not rather send a peace delegation knowing that his army is so drastically outnumbered? Likewise, we must abandon our own wishes and whatever holds us captive. Jesus says that even our loved ones should not keep us from full discipleship.
Paul abandons his slave and names him as a brother. Jesus is not telling us to stop loving our family; but no relationships should ever possess us. We are not to be prisoners to our desires, goals, wealth, or relationships. Free of these things, we can follow Jesus with single-minded hearts — like the tower builders of the Gospel who begin with the proper foundations.
(Luke 14: 25-33)
Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.
Lord, we pay a lot to walk with you;
carrying a cross, clinging to nothing, no one:
family, friends, favorite chairs,
palaces, portfolios, clothes, cars, books.
Help us let them go, and more,
to take them up again only in you.
The First Reading
(Wisdom 9: 13-18b)
For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans.
Lord, what does the world hold for us?
We are puzzled by the
things that we can see,
even more by the things we can’t.
Your Spirit from on high
gives us the warmth of your wisdom.
Show us how to live in peace with our worries.
Let us surrender and place all our trust in you.
The Second Reading
(Philemon 9: 10, 12-17)
That you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me,
but even more so to you.
Christ, can we become your brothers and sisters
through your life-changing love,
as Onesimus became to Paul?
Love alone, Paul tells us, can bring about such change,
can find a way where there is no way.
Love makes miracles happen.
Help us with your love,
to find ways when there are none.
Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck
Music for reflection