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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
1st Reading (Wis 9:13-18): Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans. For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns. And scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but when things are in heaven, who can search them out? Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.
Responsorial Psalm: 89
R/. In every age, o Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust, saying, ‘Return, O children of men’. For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.

You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, o Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!
2nd Reading (Phlm 9b-10.12-17): I, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus, urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment; I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary. Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, 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, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 118:135): Alleluia. Let your face shine upon your servant; and teach me your laws. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 14:25-33): Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.

In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

“Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus clearly tells us the place all others must take in our hierarchy of love, while also explaining that following His person demonstrates our Christian way of life. A path going through different stages, where we must join Jesus with our Cross: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).

When Jesus tells his disciples: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26), is He entering into a conflict with the Law of God that orders us to honor our parents and to love our fellow men? Certainly not. Jesus Christ already said He had not come to abolish the Law but to completely fulfill it; accordingly, He is the one to render the correct interpretation. When He demands an unconditional love, distinctive of God, He is pleading that He is God, whom we have to love above everything else and for whose love everything else has to be subordinate. By entrusting God with our lives, we shall also be able to love all others with a sincere and just love. St. Augustine says: “See, now, how you are dragging your yearning for God's truth and perceiving his own volition in the Holy Scriptures.”

Christian life is a non-stop journey with Jesus. Now-a-days, theoretically, many claim to be Christians, but, in fact, they are not sharing their journey with Jesus: they stay put at the starting point and do not even begin their trip, or give it up as soon as they can, or just take a different trip with other fellow travelers. The luggage we carry to make the journey of our life along with Jesus is the Cross, each one with his own; but, all along, with our share of suffering for those following Christ, there is also included the consolation which God soothes his beholders with, in all their trials. God is our hope and the source of life is in Him.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Take advantage of little sufferings, even more than of great ones. God considers not so much what we suffer as how we suffer. To suffer a great deal, but badly, is to suffer like the damned; to suffer much, even bravely, but for an evil cause, is to suffer as a disciple of the devil; to suffer little or much for God's sake is to suffer like a saint.” (St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort)

  • “There is always this journey, a journey that He took first: the journey of humility, the journey, too, of humiliation, of denying oneself, and then rising. But this is the path." (Francis)

  • “(…) From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: ‘We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’ And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 425)