Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 8, 2019)

How many of you felt a little uneasy as you listened to today’s Gospel? I would hope that most of us were a little uneasy as we heard Jesus’ challenging words to anyone who chooses to follow him as a disciple.

From the very beginning, Jesus tells us that he is not offering us an easy way of life. He is asking us to be like him - focused on doing the will of the Father no matter the cost. We know that this focus took him away from his family, cost him the lack of material comforts, and eventually brought him to the cross. If we choose to follow him and focus our lives on doing the Father’s will, then we too may have to make choices in our relationships.

We may have to renounce some material comforts, and certainly we will have to carry our own crosses in this life. Jesus is telling us that we must sit down and calculate our willingness to make these choices and our courage to follow them through.

It’s very easy to listen only to the challenge in Jesus’ words, and forget that he spoke them out of love for us and for his Father. He has told us often that he will never ask us to do anything on our own. He will always be with us and provide the grace we will need to meet the challenges. Any challenge will be only a bump on our road to eternal union with God.

That is why we heard Solomon’s prayer for wisdom in today’s first reading. His prayer must become ours. The Holy Spirit gifts us with wisdom that will enable us to see the events of life from God’s perspective. Wisdom enables us to trust that everything that happens to us is in some way part of God’s plan for our salvation. He will give us whatever we need to be faithful.

We pray this morning and every morning for the wisdom and the courage we need to answer Jesus’ challenging call to discipleship. May we learn to depend on grace for the strength we need to live out our response.