Ordinary Time, 23rd Sunday. The letter to Philemon shows the truths of the Gospel beginning to undermine ancient cultural assumptions about slavery. Today the Gospel is working to undermine our contemporary culture of Consumerism. Consumers are used to paying a price in exchange for goods and services. When we see religion as a consumer product, it looks like a bad deal.

But today's Gospel undermines the consumer culture because Jesus sets the price for discipleship. Being His disciple will cost you everything. Does that seem a little steep? It turns out that Jesus isn't talking about a contract; he's referring to a covenant. Instead of an exchange of goods and services, a covenant is an exchange of persons. We give everything, and we get Christ in return. And He is worth more than everything. (8 Sep 2013)