Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, Sept. 4, 2016

"The corruptible body burdens the soul." -- Wisdom 9:15

“The corruptible body burdens the soul.” — Wisdom 9:15

 

Sept. 4, Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle C. Readings:

      1) Wisdom 9:13-18b

      Psalm 90:3-6, 12-17

      2) Philemon 9-10, 12-17

      Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

 

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

In the Gospel today, Jesus reminds us that we can’t be his disciples, genuinely imparting his message and spirit, unless we are detached from our possessions.

OK, we think, we can eschew materialism and strive not to be influenced by the endemic consumerism of popular culture. We can share what we have with others. Yes, we can do that and so become effective disciples.

But what about the “possessions” that we think of as our daily bread: job, income, home — the things that provide our basic security? Becoming separated from those things can make it hard to listen and attend to God’s Spirit.

I saw it happen to a close friend of mine, a professional, when circumstances created a serious, unexpected reduction in his income. Approaching the end of his career, he saw his savings depleted and retirement plans dashed.

Suddenly, he felt that everything he’d worked for was lost, and he was overwhelmed by fears about his future. He could hardly think rationally.

Most of us have experienced a situation in which an unexpected crisis hits and lays us low.

Often it can be so defeating that we can’t feel God’s presence or hear the gentle guidance of Jesus within us.

Today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom describes the difficulty. “The corruptible body burdens the soul,” Wisdom says, explaining, “The earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.”

It’s not so much that we are materialistic but that our concerns about even basic material matters hinder us from looking into our souls for answers from God. Jesus wants us to let go of those matters that weigh down our ability to follow him.

My friend eventually let go of his fears, accepting the fact of financial insecurity, and trusted God to carry him forward.

Wisdom notes, “The deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans.”

We hate uncertainty and insecurity. Think of the panic that ensues when one’s hard drive crashes “with all my stuff on it!”

Jesus calls us to carry our cross, not our stuff. He asks us to carry our uncertainty and insecurity and trustingly follow him. That’s the cross he can help us carry.

QUESTIONS:

When have you been so overburdened by earthly matters that you were unable to seek Jesus’ guidance? What are the “possessions” that have the greatest hold in your life?

One Response

  1. So very true. We often equate Christianity with possessing many things because we are blessed. However Jesus said the opposite. He told us to disown ourselves even in order to take up the cross. I have purged my home and have decided to live a very simple life. This is not to say I won’t take care of myself or family as it is my duty as a Christian. It helps me to reflect on how much do we really need in our lives in order to live. This morning for example I had many things to do and thought how can I go to church with so much to do? After a prayer the scripture of Mary and Martha came to mind. Jesus had visited Mary and Martha Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening to him while Martha was running around trying to prepare a fine meal for Jesus. This is not wrong in itself and Jesus reminded Martha after she asked Jesus to tell Mary to help, that Mary had chosen the better portion that of listening to Jesus and that Martha only needed a few things to prepare not a whole meal. This reminds us of simplicity of life so we have time for our spirituality so it doesn’t get crowded out of our lives. The world is filled with the latest “must haves” supposedly to make our lives easier however how complicated does our life become when we have to take care of these possessions or wasting time by being absorbed in these possessions? How many of us have the latest gadgets sitting unused on a shelf somewhere in our homes or garages? How many of us are preparing our Christmas List with all the gizmos and gifts? I am preparing a simple Christmas so I can have the better portion of really reflecting on Advent and on Jesus’s Birth hoping to go to Midnight Mass and enjoying the gift of life from our Savior rather than spending tons of money on gifts. Of course it is a festive time of year and I want my activities for the Advent to reflect that as well. I pray that we can all take the better portion of God’s Word over things in our lives.

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