“WHOEVER WISHES TO COME AFTER ME MUST DENY HIMSELF,TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.” MT 16:24-28
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” MT 16:24-28
The last two Gospels are powerful in our faith. We hear Jesus tell us who He is and later He will die, rise, and fulfill His mission to save us. Today, after Jesus identifies Himself as the Messiah, He tells us what we must do to be His followers and keep the Good News alive after He is gone. ”Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Why would we need to deny ourselves? We have inherited a fallen human nature that has desires that are disordered (7 deadly sins). Jesus asks us to kill our ego and allow Him to transform our lives. In baptism, we are given the gift of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual powers of intellect, memory, and will help us to gain knowledge of these desires and then use self-control, God’s grace in the sacraments, and avoiding the near occasion of sin.
We are called to become vulnerable and allow the Father who is chasing us to transform our lives and develop an amazing relationship. One that has the greatest intimacy we can ever achieve, holiness/sacredness. This also requires sacrifice.
It requires us to enter the great depths of brokenness inside of us. We must wrestle with God. We must face the reality that life is difficult. We must accept our limitations. Each day we must take up our crosses. Everyone has crosses to carry. Some are harder to bear than others, but that means they have a greater opportunity for grace.
Every cross, if offered to God through Jesus, can be an opportunity for grace and growing in holiness. Isn’t that what this gift of time is about, growing in holiness so that we can be welcomed into the holiest of places, heaven.
Or do we have a different intention in life? ”What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” We can’t take any of our possessions with us to heaven. Yet, we go to school to get a good job so we can find a job to sustain ourselves and our families. This is very good, but it can’t be our false god.
God is bigger than work, family, and possessions. We must rid ourselves of our physical, material, and cultural desires. More importantly, do you and your family know who God is and have a personal relationship with God. Why? We are made for a spiritual afterlife. Scott Hahn says, “God gives us good things and material possessions so we have something to give up and sacrifice to grow in God’s grace”.
God wants to be with us in our homes and our schools where we learn to allow Christ to live through us guided by the Holy Spirit to bring ourselves and others to holiness with God’s grace into His kingdom.
Our whole life perspective would change and we would start to pray more, go to Church with purpose, receive the Sacraments faithfully, forgive in our relationships, and live our life with the purpose God created it for. There is no profit on earth we can work for that is more powerful than the love of God. Love, put others first, deny self, lay down your life for one’s friends.
This is how we become filled with joy and peace. ”For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct.” Do we know anyone who did not die? Death is a guarantee. Where we go when we die is the gift God has given us of Himself. He wants nothing more than our friendship and to be with Him forever.
Today’s challenge: Allow God to change your perspective with the Good News today. Use this gift of time God has given you with the right purpose. Eternity is forever this time on earth is short.
Be a servant, become a saint!