Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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Lectionary: 129
Read the Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Gospel Summary

The people in the large crowd that Jesus addressed in today’s Gospel were deeply committed to loving and honoring their parents. That’s why Jesus’ words must have been shocking to them saying that they must turn from their parents (some translations even say “hate”). The point Jesus wanted to make was that nothing, not family nor possessions, could interfere with a person’s choice to follow Jesus. Followers of Jesus were to carefully calculate their commitment. Jesus meticulously helped them understand this process by comparing it to a builder who carefully planned out the structure to be built before breaking ground or to a military leader who calculated the size of his army versus the opponent’s. The follower must be willing to pay the price of discipleship before making the choice so that he/she doesn’t quit the commitment.

Reflection for Families

This is a hard reading for parents if we take it literally. It helps to understand that Jesus was making a point about how committed we should be if we want to follow him. Discipleship is not something we go away by ourselves and do. It’s how we live in our everyday world. It’s how we treat our children, our friends and spouses, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers. When we count the cost of discipleship each morning when we get out of bed, we might consider the challenges we will face with people throughout the day. Even thinking ahead about how we will deal with expected issues or unexpected irritations will help us act like disciples. Asking Jesus to help us throughout the day will remind us that we are not alone!

Bringing the Gospel into Your Family

Have each person in the family cut out a cross from a large sheet of paper and draw symbols on the cross that describe their personal commitment to Jesus. Help family members realize that discipleship is demanded in our everyday lives, at home, at work, at school, in our neighborhoods and community. After the symbols are finished, share your ideas of what you might turn away from in order to faithfully follow Jesus. What kind of planning and foresight does it take for you to do the things you’ve drawn on your cross?

Discussion Starters

  1. One thing in my life that gets in the way of following Jesus is . . .
  2. One person I know who lives this Gospel and is a faithful follower of Jesus, is . . . and I see him/her paying the price of discipleship by . . .
  3. As a follower, I think Jesus expects me to . . .