23rd Sunday of the Year – The cost of the Cross

Study: Reflect on a truly difficult time in your life.  Where did you find the strength to continue?

Pray:  Is there a challenging situation in your life right now?  Ask the Lord for grace and wisdom.

Serve:  How can you help someone in a tight spot today?  How can you help them carry their cross?

Mass Readings – 23rd Sunday of the Year

There is a sobering element in the readings this week that focuses on the cost of discipleship.  We commonly speak of “carrying the Cross” as a way of understanding how our sacrifices and burdens become transformed when we participate in the Cross of Christ.

The first reading from the book of Wisdom reminds us that our mortal natures cannot fathom the breadth and depth of God’s plan.  We rely on the Lord, and we trust that through the power of the Holy Spirit God reveals the path of our lives – and provides us with the strength for the journey.

The psalm response “In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge” helps us understand that when times get tough we turn to Jesus.  He is the source of our strength, and with his grace we find a safe place from which we can prepare our hearts for the demands of the day.

Paul’s letter to Philemon touches upon our human weakness.  Paul, imprisoned for his faith, is sending back a runaway slave (Onesimus) to his master – urging Philemon to accept his former servant with kindness as a brother in the Lord.  Paul, Onesimus, and Philemon must all trust in the Lord for the strength to do what is right, even when it is difficult.

Finally, the Gospel speaks bluntly about the cost of discipleship.  The price might be our family, our relationships, our possessions…yet through it all the Lord affirms that his grace empowers us to carry our Cross.  For indeed, we all have crosses, and we can face them with hope – knowing that the Lord, who carried his Cross, will help us with our own.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: