23rd Sunday of the Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Wisdom 9:13–18b
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.
2nd Reading: Philemon 9–10, 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.
Gospel: Luke 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.”
THE COSTS OF DISCIPLESHIP: Becoming a disciple of Christ, that is, to be a Christian, is not a joke. Before a person makes up his/her mind to become a disciple of Christ, he/she must think twice. This is because being a disciple of Christ demands that one must renounce one’s possessions. Without renouncing one’s possessions a person cannot be a disciple of Christ (Luke 14:33). Renouncing one’s possessions to become a disciple of Christ means that a person should not put anything above Christ. It means that a person should not even put his/her parents, relatives and even his/her own life above Christ. Christ should come first. That is the cost of being a disciple of Christ. A person who claims to be a disciple of Christ and still prefers other things to Christ cannot claim to be Christ’s disciple. Being a disciple of Christ means that if one is offered a crucifix (that is a cross with Jesus image on it) and a brand-new car, and is asked to choose and take only one of the two items, a true disciple will take the crucifix and leave the car.
Prayer: Lord, may all people prefer you more than anything else in their lives.