The 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8th September 2019
Lectionary readings: Wis 9:13-18 ; 89:3-6,12-14,17;Phil 9-10,12-17; Luke 14:25-33
Theme: Commitment in Following the Way
The first reflection on today’s readings gives us some food for thought and admiration of the Word of God and its connection to our daily life. Anyone who wants to listen to the Word of God, even without any prior Scripture study, is able to relate to the messages given to us today. The language of images and parables invites us to seek God in realities in which we live and gives some suggestions to actions favorable in God’s eyes. At the same time, there is a level of uncertainty and confusion over what Jesus’s vision is for us, his disciples, and how radical we have to be in our living of the Gospel in order to participate in His mission.
The first reading from the book of Wisdom brings our attention to the limitation of our ability to know God (verses 14-15). We can comprehend what is tangible and what we can see; however, we cannot overcome the fact that there is no real instrument to understand God’s intention but the faith given us through our willingness to open to God and His Wisdom (verse 17).
Our Responsorial Psalm offers strong reassurance that God’s love is continually expressed in His commitment to the people who put in effort and want to follow His ways and will. As David (verse 3) and generations after him have been blessed by the presence of the Lord, we too have a strong foundation of God’s love and faithfulness (verse 14).
Our second reading reminds us that a relationship with God always leads into relationship with one another. One who loves God will love their neighbor despite different beliefs or social status. It should come naturally and spontaneously (verse 14).
As we come to the Gospel we can be taken aback and confused by Jesus’s speech about hatred of family members (verses 25-26). The cost of discipleship is to pay the ultimate price of being ready to give up everything and to love God above all. And this is much more than fulfilling the law. It is a commitment of the covenant, which is about “the values we share and the identity we construct together” (Jonathan Sacks, p. 234).
This Sunday, we are all called to renew our commitment in our discipleship with Jesus. “Many people might aspire to be disciples – then and now- but some always want to do so in their own “way” and in their own time. (…) Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, he deliberately goes out of his way to seek and find people who have lost their way or are the by the wayside, in order to call them back to “the Way” of discipleship” (Anthony J. Gittins, p.54). On which side are you? Where do you want to be in following Jesus’s way of living?
For Reflection and Discussion:  In what ways do you seek the Wisdom and Will of God every day?  What actions would you undertake to enhance good relationships with your family members, friends and community in living as disciples of Christ?
Bibliography: Jonathan Sacks, The Home We Build Together (London, 2007); Anthony J.Gittins, The Way of Discipleship, Women, Men and Toda’s Call to Mission (Minnesota, 2016)