Sunday, September 04, 2016 – Lectionary 23 Introduction
Called to contemplate the cost of discipleship today, we might be helped by translating Paul’s request to Philemon into our prayer of the day: Refresh my heart in Christ. Strengthened by the company and forgiveness of the Christ in the blessed sacrament and recalling God’s grace in remembrance of baptism, we can be strengthened in this hour to “choose life”—to choose life in God as our own.
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Moses speaks to the Israelites, who are about to enter the land promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In this passage, he lays out the stark choice before them: choose life by loving and obeying the Lord; or choose death by following other gods.
Psalm: Psalm 1
They are like trees planted by streams of water. (Ps. 1:3)
Second Reading: Philemon 1-21
While Paul was in prison, he was aided by a runaway slave named Onesimus. The slave’s master, Philemon, was a Christian friend of Paul. Paul told Onesimus to return to his master and encouraged Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a Christian brother.
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
Jesus speaks frankly about the fearsome costs of discipleship. Those who follow him should know from the outset that completing the course of discipleship will finally mean renouncing all other allegiances.