Reflection for September 2022 (Liturgical Year – Cycle C, Year II)

Community Word: True disciples of Christ know and follow His teachings
Order: “Carry your cross…come after me…be my disciple” (Lk 14: 27)
Reflection:
Through our community word, the liturgical readings for the month tell us that if one desires to be a true disciple of Christ, he or she must know the teachings of Jesus and follow them. There are ways we can learn and understand Christ’s teachings, but the surest way to follow Him is by preparing ourselves to endure the hardships that may come our way and be willing to step outside our comfort zones for His sake. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus invites us, “Carry your cross…come after me…be my disciple” (Lk 14: 27).
True discipleship entails a trustful obedience and submission to God’s will, in persevering faith, even if our situation is beyond our understanding. And although our faith journey is difficult, we should look to God with hope in our heart that He is able to turn our circumstances around for good. Following Jesus means to endure trials, persecution, disappointments, inconveniences and difficulties, but there is a reward.
St. James gives this assurance, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him,” (Ja 1:12). We can also relate to what Paul said to the Romans, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope……because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5: 3-5). Therefore, we are assured of Christ’s blessing and provision when we follow Him as His true disciples.
Some of the ways we can learn the teachings of Christ and follow Him are shown in the readings for the month which we can reflect on.
For the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, our theme is – We know and follow Christ’s teachings when we rely on God’s wisdom and plan. Relying on earthly things and desires will never satisfy or give fulfillment in our life. No matter what we do, we will always want more and more. It is only when we seek the Lord, our heavenly Treasure, will the teachings of Jesus be made clear to us. We need to be firm in our desire to follow Christ and walk by faith, knowing that God’s wisdom and ways are beyond ours, and His thoughts greater than our thoughts. When we move according to His plan, we are assured that “The Lord our God… (will) prosper the work of our hands,” (Ps 90: 17b).
The theme for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time tells us – We know and follow Christ’s teachings when we repent and seek reconciliation with God and others. Our sins will never be greater than the mercy of God. We see this well demonstrated in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. In these stories, we can see that it is Jesus who forgives, who relentlessly seeks the lost and saves the sinner. Like the lost son, as long as we sincerely acknowledge our sins, genuinely repent of them, and reconcile with God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are assured that, “There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” (Lk 15: 10).
We know and follow Christ’s teachings when we are prudent and trustworthy stewards of God’s gifts and provisions, is the theme for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. If God is our Master, then we and all that we own are at His disposal. He is our Creator and we are mere creatures. But as His beloved, we are given authority over others as His stewards and we are commanded to dispose of them according to His Divine Plan. As faithful stewards we use His creation to build His Kingdom. When we use God’s gifts and provisions wisely He will be pleased with us. He will not allow us to be lost because He will save us. God’s promise in Paul’s letter to Timothy says, “This is good and pleasing to God our Savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth,” (1Tim 2: 3-4).
And, on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, our theme is – We know and follow Christ’s teachings when we are just and compassionate to the poor and the marginalized. God’s love has always been with the poor, not only materially but spiritually. We see that His Son Jesus, though powerful and divine, became poor so that by His poverty we might become rich. If Jesus is the Way, then we should emulate this virtue by caring for the poor and marginalized and be assured of His promise, “Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry,” (Ps 146: 7).
Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to fully trust in You amidst the storms and battles of this life. Please be with me in my suffering. I want to do Your will and commit to know and follow Your Son Jesus’ teachings. Though challenges may come my way, help me to carry my cross. Please be with me every step of the way. Amen!

 
 

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