Readings: September 4, 2016, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading from © Good News Bible Translation;  2nd reading and gospel from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Wisdom 8: 13-18b

       Who can ever learn the will of God?  Human reason is not adequate for the task, and our philosophies tend to mislead us, because our mortal bodies weigh our souls down. The body is a temporary structure made of earth, a burden to the active mind.   All we can do is make guesses about things on earth; we must struggle to learn about things that are close to us. Who, then, can ever hope to understand heavenly things?

    No one has ever learned your will, unless you first gave him Wisdom, and sent your holy spirit down to him. In this way, people on earth have been set on the right path.

  • Philemon 1:9-17

           To Call the Slave Your Friend

    I Paul, as Christ’s ambassador and now a prisoner for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to command this if I thought it necessary, but I’d rather make it a personal request.

   While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And I’m sending him back to you, but it feels like I’m cutting off my right arm in doing so. I wanted in the worst way to keep him here as your stand-in to help out while I’m in jail for the Message. But I didn’t want to do anything behind your back, make you do a good deed that you hadn’t willingly agreed to.

    Maybe it’s all for the best that you lost him for a’re getting him back now for good—and no mere slave this time, but a true Christian brother! That’s what he was to me—he’ll be even more than that to you. So if you still consider me a comrade-in-arms, welcome him back as you would me.

  • Luke 14:25-33

           Figure the Cost

    One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

   “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

    “Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

     “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.

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