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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR NOV. 7 | Discipleship entails greater dependence on God

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time | To help the lowly, we often allow our security to be shaken for the sake of unconditional love

In case you haven’t noticed, our journey through the Scriptures at this time of year continuously challenges us to examine ourselves. Are we disciples of Jesus? Do we even want to be after discipleship is spelled out in such clear terms? Are we satisfied with the status quo? Are we willing to change how we live for the sake of being His disciples?

On the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, we have the example of two widows. They are both at the end of their resources. Each is given a chance to take what little they have and entrust it to God. Imagine being in that situation. Our most natural instinct is survival. We wouldn’t even think about helping someone else if it put our safety and security in jeopardy. And yet, week after week, that is the image of discipleship we see. For God’s sake and for the sake of the lowly, we are asked to live with less security and more dependence.

Taking the lowest place rather than the highest creates insecurity. Selling all we have and giving it to the poor creates insecurity. Forgiving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us creates insecurity. Allowing oneself to be nailed to the cross creates insecurity.

As one who wears long robes fairly often, the Gospel this weekend seems to speak directly to me, and I hope to you as well. Your long robe may not be as visible as mine but they exist nonetheless. We all have ways of showing our importance and flexing power. We all have ways of separating ourselves from the lowly and needy. We all have ways of holding back just enough to make sure we are not dependent. In fact, being dependent is often seen as a failure rather than an accomplishment.

Are we losing the ability to see every human as our brother or sister? Have we lost the ability to approach someone else’s understanding without correcting or judging? The Body of Christ is made up of many parts, which are all needed to function well. If we think the world is becoming blind, might it be that we have not valued the vision of some? Maybe we have convinced some, through our attitudes and behaviors, that they are separated from us and there is no chance of oneness.

How often have you made the decision to dismiss a person from your family, your friends or your church community? If God wishes for us to be one, are we furthering God’s intention by acting as if some people are disposable? I know that most of us have a solution about how to make the Church, our world or our families better and holier groups. I’ll bet that solution is by someone else changing.

There is only one life that each of us has control over and the ability to change. As you hear the story of the two widows, what change in mind and heart is this calling forth from you? What step toward greater insecurity and dependence will you make to look more like Jesus and act more like Him? What commitment will you make to take that “handful of flour and a little oil” and use it to feed another? How will you step forward with a clearer decision to listen more and talk less, to welcome the stranger in your midst and to allow your security to be shaken for the sake of unconditional love?

Let us walk this road of discipleship together. There is strength in our unity!

Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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