Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Lk 9:18-22
While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. Lk 9:43-45
Yesterday, I mentioned that Jesus was about to reveal who He is. This is important. His identity is the essence of who we are to strive to be like. So, His identity, with God’s grace is to shape us into other Christs. We take this identity on when we are baptized. In our baptismal vows, we are called to reject Satan and make a daily commitment to follow the Creed by striving for holiness and grow closer to Christ. The battle: God’s grace pulling us up vs. our appetites, passions, and desires pulling us down. Each day we are either growing in holiness or not growing in holiness. There is no in between.
This is a very difficult task. What answer does Jesus give us in today’s Gospel? “Once when Jesus was praying in solitude.” We must take time to sit in solitude, talk, and listen to God. We must learn to pray by talking to Jesus each day like we are texting a friend. We must use our knowledge of Christ and our imagination. Then, we can move to reading Scripture and reflecting on it. Last, we can use memorized prayers meditating on what the words mean. If we only say memorized prayers, we are not taking the next step in our prayer life which is to have a relationship by communicating each day with Jesus. Talking to Him like you are talking to your best friend. This is what He died for, to have a personal relationship with Him. Invite Him into your boat (life)!
We learn today that Jesus is, “The Christ of God,” “The Son of Man” who must suffer greatly by the hands of men. The same men He has came to save. He reveals that He will die and rise on the third day. Everything about His identity is wrapped up in this revelation. If Jesus does not die and rise, our faith does not exist. We are called to die and rise like Christ. We are to die to our ego and put on Christ. With His grace, we are called to rise above the darkness, sin, and chaos of the world and live a rightly ordered life.
In conclusion, so many Christians have been persecuted over the centuries and more in the last century than the others combined. Christians are suffering persecution around the world today. Why are people willing to die for Jesus rather than live? They have learned the Good News and have chosen to dedicate themselves completely to it. It starts with a relationship in prayer with Jesus. It starts as a belief in your heart. Then, it grows through His grace in the sacraments and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Family members would die for each other, but why Jesus? Jesus, who is God, came to earth to show God’s love and mercy. God the Father’s only desire is to have His children back with Him in heaven. God the Father is our Creator and desires friendship with us more than anyone else in the world. Jesus, who is God, came to earth to show God’s love and mercy. He died, rose on the third day, and gave us new life through baptism. Every moment alive is a moment God has given to us as a gift. His love is much greater than ours.
One of the greatest ways we can imitate Him is by dying for Him like He died for us. Not all of us are called to be martyrs, but we are called to die to self and put on Christ for others so that others can see Christ in us and be inspired to be holier. Pray, be humble, die to self and live in peace and joy. May we be inspired by God’s great love and share this love with others.
Today’s challenge: Reflect on the identity of Jesus. Our identity is wrapped up in His through Baptism. Strive each day with God’s grace, love, and mercy to be more like Christ. Cooperate with God’s Will. This is not a decision for the death bed but now. Few people convert on their death bed. This is a decision for warriors, those seeking adventure! The divine became human so the human could become divine!
Be a servant, become a saint!