A reflection for the twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sister Erin Zubal, O.S.U. reflects on the readings for September 4, 2022.
Catholic Voices

Readings (Year C)

Wisdom 9:13 – 18b
Psalms 90:3 – 4, 5 – 6, 12 – 13, 14 and 17
Philemon 9 – 10, 12 – 17
Luke 14:25 – 33

Reflection: What it means to be a disciple

As I reflect on the readings for this week, I find myself wondering about the “great crowds” that were traveling with Jesus. Who was gathered? What were they hoping they might learn?  And then I ask myself: Would I have been among the crowd? Would I have had the interest, courage, and curiosity to follow, listen, and engage? 

The thing is, I tend not to be a “crowd person.” I like to travel with a small group, an intentional community as some might call it.  However, while it is not my preference to be a crowd person, I do believe that is exactly who God has called me to be.  As a woman religious, educator, social worker and justice-seeker, I find that I am my best self when I am among others—my family, my sisters, my colleagues, my neighbors—and the list goes on and on.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus gets right to the point when he turns and addresses those gathered about what it means to be a disciple. It takes serious work and intention to be a disciple, a student, a lifelong learner.  Jesus is clear and direct. Renounce your family, and your possessions, own your flaws and faults, be discerning, and do your interior work. 

These are no small requests. So, how do we respond?  Do we trust the God who has rescued us in every age as the Psalmist reminds us?  Or do we reject the invitation to even try, not offering our best selves to each other and the world?


The world is in desperate need of our “yes” to the invitation of discipleship. Can we trust and persist in doing the little bit that’s been asked of us, entrusted to us? Can we trust the crowd, the community we are called to share this common call with? In my experience, the blessings of risking, trusting and fully engaging in community by far outweigh the challenges. 

Yes, it takes time, deep listening, and an open heart, but I have come to trust the crowd traveling with me, trust my God who calls me and rescues me—and I invite you, also, to trust and persevere in the call of discipleship, the call to community and service in your corner of the world.

About the author

Sister Erin Zubal, O.S.U.

Sister Erin Zubal, an Ursuline Sister of Cleveland, is Chief of Staff at NETWORK. Before serving at NETWORK Sister Erin served for 15 years as a social worker and educator in Catholic elementary and high schools in the Diocese of Cleveland. She holds a Masters in Social Work Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Masters in Educational Administration from Ursuline College.

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