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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Sept. 5, 2010

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

Sept. 5, 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

I know that my generation tends to be a bit too involved in our children's lives. Now that their generation has reached adulthood amid a serious economic recession, I also realize that I'm not the only parent who sometimes catches herself beseeching God's intervention for an offspring: "Please, Lord, just a job in his field with benefits."

I should know better: I've been in developing countries; I've walked through the aftermath of natural disasters; I've sat with parents when a child died.

Nevertheless, the small stresses of material life can easily sneak in and steal our attention from things that matter more.

Today's Scriptures say as much, reminding us that we can obscure God's greater concerns with our lesser desires, even matters regarding our own family. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that if we give those yearnings priority, we can't be his disciples.

Why?

Because what we want for ourselves and our loved ones is fleeting compared to Jesus' more valuable and lasting desires. When I allow my attention to be drawn away from God to shortsighted worldly worries, I have poor counsel to offer my children.

The reading in Wisdom states that "the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind." It does: I once suggested my daughter accept a position "just for a little while, just to get some experience," only to have her say, "You told me yourself how exploitative that industry is. I don't want to try to sell people something they can't afford."

But I remember that, on occasions when I have chosen to sacrifice my desires to follow Jesus' calling, my desires changed. They conformed more closely to his.

The other day my son mentioned he had only $8 in the bank because several of his music students had fallen behind in their payments. "I don't want to push too hard," he said. "I know this one dad is really struggling financially, and he's got a whole family to take care of."

I wanted to say, well you're struggling too, and you should charge him a penalty. Fortunately, these words came out instead, "That kind of understanding will serve you well."

QUESTIONS:

When recently have material pursuits -- yours or those of a loved one -- taken your attention away from deeper concerns of God? What can you do to avoid this natural tendency?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Who can conceive what the Lord intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans" (Wisdom 9:13-14).

END



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