Gospel Reflections

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 14:25-33

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary O'Brien

Published: September 04, 2016

“Great crowds accompanied Jesus.”  These are the opening words of the Gospel for this Sunday. We see how the crowds were attracted to Jesus time and time again. They heard stories, parables and teaching and were challenged in many ways. How did they hear the direct challenges, especially this one? “You cannot be my disciple unless you give up all your possessions.”

So we hear this challenge and want to respond. But it is not easy. What are our possessions? We have life. We have our own gifts and talents. There are the physical goods which surround us. We have our individual experiences of God throughout our lives. We have our ideas and opinions – which can be so strong as to possess us. What is meant by giving up all our possessions?

God continually invites us to accept the vocation to which we have been called – a gift which we can continually accept with joy – albeit at times with difficulty. Sometimes we reject the challenge. Acceptance can be absolute but do we remember that the living of the acceptance has to be renewed and accepted every day as we try always to be whole-hearted? As we grow nearer to God – something we do not feel – the meaning of acceptance deepens. Of course there are times when it can be very difficult to accept and it can be hard to say ‘Yes.’ Human nature can bring less than total acceptance and then we need grace to bring us back to trying to make the total commitment we want to make.

In the first reading, we are reminded that we have been given Wisdom to guide and enlighten us in the ways of God. The second reading shows Paul, an old man, allowing Onesimus to return to his people. Paul is divesting himself of the company of Onesimus but making sure also that this slave is now a free man. These different types of possessions are given to be used, developed, and ultimately given away. The giving back to God brings its own growth.

The challenge to continue to respond and the way in which God responds to us are described in 2 Corinthians Chapter 2 where we are told: The Son of God was never ‘Yes and No.’  With Him, it was always ‘Yes.’ However many promises God made, the ‘Yes’ to them all is in Him.  

May we strive to respond with grace to the daily challenges we meet.

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