18th of February

Publié le 17 Février 2022

Gospel text

(Mk 8:34-9,1): 

 

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “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 and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.”

 

The Application

 

While reading today’s readings, I thought that I will share with you some of my ideas about the people who have faith and the difference we see in the people who believe that they have faith. As Jesus has said, it is not the question of having little or more, simply, is the question of FAITH itself, as some believe it having.

 

One of the important difference between the person of faith and all those who think they have faith, is that the person of faith believes that God has given him everything and now he is called to give back to God the fruits of that faith. So, this life is a gift from God and everything that belongs to life, including the person himself or herself, belongs to the Lord. I do not give to receive, on the contrary, I give because I have received a lot. The human relationship gets it resource from God’s point of view, not what I look at God.

 

On the other hand, the person who thinks he has faith, believes that God will grant him grace, if he remains faithful to the teaching of Jesus. For an example the commandment of love. He loves, so that God may loves him or her in return.  So what he does is conditioned by everything that he will receive. I merit more than what I receive. Faithfulness to the Lord's teaching is an obedience, not a duty or de facto, or something quite natural, proper to the very human being. Behind every obedience there is an expectation that is hidden.

 

Thus, a person of faith will affirm, that I take up the daily cross because this gesture or act helps me to participate in the passion of Christ, who died for me. Since in Jesus I have discovered that this cross will lead me to the resurrection, the cross becomes for me a source of my salvation. In the cross I am purified and renewed. On cross I don’t die, rather I reborn. For me, the cross is not a scandal or folly, as to the external world, but a victory against sin and evil, as St. Paul tells us.

 

Action of the day: Learn to take crosses of life as an opportunity.  

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”

 

+ Fr. Joaquim FONT i Gassol

(Igualada, Barcelona, Spain)

 

Today’s Gospel speaks of two contemporary themes: the cross we all have to bear every day and its fruit, that is, Life with capital letters, supernatural and eternal.

When we listen to the Gospel we stand up as a sign we want to follow its teachings. Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, not to follow “the pleasure of our whims” —as the psalmist claims— or, as saint Paul cites, to get rid of “the deceiving greed”. To take up our own cross is to accept the little mortifications we find every day along the way.

We can be helped out by what Jesus said in his priestly sermon at the cenacle: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” (Jn 15:1-2). A hopeful gardener pampering the grapes so they bear the best wine! Yes, we want to follow our Lord! Yes, we are conscious the Father wishes to help us so our branches bear an abundant fruit in our earthly life which we can later enjoy in the Eternal Life.

Saint Ignatious used to guide saint Francis Xavier with the words of today's text: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:36). This is how he got appointed the patron of Missions. With the same idea in our minds, we can read the last canon of the Canon Law Code (n. 1752): “(...) and the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one's eyes.” And saint Augustine also has his famous lesson: “Animam salvasti, animam tuam praedestinasti”, which could be translated as: “He who dedicates himself with true zeal to the salvation of souls has thus good reasons to hope for eternal life.” The invitation is quite clear.

The Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, helps us to advance in this way.

 

Rédigé par JOHNBOSCO

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