23rd Ordinary Sunday, 04 September: Proverbs 2; Psalm 90:3-6, 12-17; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33 ~ count the cost

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

God of the ages, you call the Church to keep watch in the world and to discern the signs of the times. Grant us the wisdom which your Spirit bestows, that with courage we may proclaim your prophetic word and complete the work you have set before us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

“Immortal, Invisible” – Tommy Walker


A Reading from the Old Testament: Proverbs 2:2-3, 5-6, 9-10, 20-22 (NLT)
[Wisdom comes from God.]

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

Wisdom 2

Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.

So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.

A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 90:3-6, 12-17 (NLT)

You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!

Psalm 90 (A Thousand Years) – James Block


A Reading from the Letters: Philemon 9-10, 12-17 (NLT)
[Paul writes a warm letter concerning a former slave whom he now regards as his brother.]

But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison.

I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.

I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf. But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced. It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.

A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 14:25-33 (NLT)
[This Gospel reading contains hard teachings; we are asked to carry the cross of discipleship and to give all we have to it.]


A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

“The Cost” – Rend Collective Experiment


Intercessory Prayer:

Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise: we cry out to you today for wisdom and insight that we may understand what is right, just, and fair, and follow you to our life’s end. Hear the cries of our hearts:

+ That we may follow Christ wholeheartedly and finish well…. Lord, hear us.
+ That migrants from Asia and Africa may find a safe home and live in peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ That all those affected by natural disasters will have the help they need…. Lord, hear us.
+ That people who live in fear of death, may know that you are close to them…. Lord, hear us.
+ That we may display generosity toward others and receive help meeting our own needs…. Lord, hear us.
+ That those who have died in Christ may enjoy the gift of life without end…. Lord, hear us.

God of the ages, you teach your people wisdom of heart, help us to trust in your care, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Take Up Your Cross” – The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir



“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:20b

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen