23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 08/09/2019

The readings this week summarizes the two important truths: commitment and self-sacrifice.

God is always ready to grant the gift of wisdom to those who seek it. Philemon a leader of the church community at Colossae, receives a letter from St. Paul about slavery which is a deep-rooted social structure that St. Paul knows how difficult to change it, but he seeks to change the hearts of the recipients which could contain the worst slavery.  Actually, he invites the recipient of his letter to see how unity and our own relationship with one another is seen in relation to Christ.

 The psalmist reminds us that our greatness is nothing compared to the wisdom of God, yet the Lord is all faithful and our refuge and strength. Christ makes a radical call while on his way to Jerusalem. COUNTING THE COST: He takes the opportunity to teach his followers what it means to be his disciple. He invites them and us his followers today to be indifferent to anything that distracts us from following him. To illustrate this point, Jesus said; “If a person comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. What does Jesus mean by this?  Well, you might have heard an English idiom: It’s raining cats and dogs! This is never interpreted literary; we don’t mean we can go out to see cats and dogs falling from the clouds. Or I am so hungry I can eat a horse! Truly, we don’t expect to see someone eating a whole horse with knife and spoon.

Jesus spoke Semitic language, which is Aramaic, and it lacked some words when a person is preferring one thing over the other. Hence, his use of the word “hatred” of one’s family members in preference to loving him. He doesn’t advise us to hate our family members or others but to let go all that distracts us from following him. God’s life can deepen in us through the many gifts he gives us.

 Then what is the cost of discipleship? It is this; “anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple”. A cross is a symbol of decision making. We sometimes say, I have come to a crossroad, meaning I must decide which way to follow. To illustrate this point, two devils were arguing with each other about human beings unable to decide, and one devil said, “Humans are great at talking but slow to act” and the other devil responded, “There is always a big gap between profession and practice.” For a Christian, practice of what he/she professes involves counting the cost.

Christian Action This Week:  Practice what you profess. Decide!

Joy and Peace.