Jesuit father Eric Kambale introduces us to meditation, with the readings for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time of liturgical year C.
First lecture: Wis 9.13-18
Psalm: Ps 89 (90), 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14.17abc
Second reading: Phm 9b-10,12-17
gospel: Lk 14, 25-33
Dear brothers and sisters, on this 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time of liturgical year C, the Church invites us to meditate on the requirements of an authentic Christian life. Yes, being a Christian has its requirements. Three points that complement each other accompany our meditation: the search for the will of God, the change of way of life and the absolute preference of Christ.
The first reading, taken from the book of Wisdom, invites us to the constant search for the will of God. Although this divine will is difficult to understand, the daily walk of the Christian is to seek it. Seek it through prayer, whatever events they may be, good deeds… In short, through all our being and our acting. For it is through the quality of our being and our action that the will of God truly takes shape on earth. And so we can proudly pray the Our father dutifully saying:Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven“.
As a Christian, how do I make God’s will manifest on earth? The answer to this question requires a change of way of life to which the second reading from the letter of Saint Paul Apostle to Philemon calls us. Indeed, Saint Paul, in prison, refers to Philemon Onesimus, slave of the latter. The change in this dismissal lies in an important point: the new day in the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus. Saint Paul asks Philemon to no longer consider Onesimus as a slave but as a beloved brother. This change of relationship sends us back to our own conscience. Don’t we have people we over-exploit, or consider as slaves? How do we treat our employees, those who depend on us at work? Is it as beloved brothers and sisters or as slaves? The word of God invites us to reflect within ourselves and to improve our relationship with our neighbour, the beloved.
It is by treating the other as beloved brother and sister and not as a slave that we absolutely prefer Christ as the Gospel according to Saint Luke invites us. The message of Christ may seem very radical in this gospel, but it is simply realistic: “If anyone comes to me without preferring me to his father, to his mother, to his wife, to his children, to his brothers and sisters, and even to his own life, he cannot be my disciple.“. Furthermore, the disciple must carry his cross behind Christ. If Christ insists on his preference to any other reality, it is not so that we drop everything, that we live without doing anything under the pretext of following Christ. Nope! What Christ teaches us is rather to find him, our absolute preference, in all these relationships (father, mother, wife, children, etc.) Because if Christ lives in our different relationships, then it is he that we follow by consolidating them. And even though we carry our cross as he recommends, we carry it behind him. It is in him that all our confidence is.
May Jesus Christ himself help us to be his good disciples, always behind him. Amen.
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Meditation for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C: “Preferring Christ to All” – Vatican News
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