Wednesday, March 01, 2017
THURSDAY after Ash Wednesday
March 2, 2017 – THURSDAY after Ash Wednesday
Dt 30: 15- 20 / Lk 9: 22- 25
FROM THE 1ST READING: Dt 30: 15- 18
See, I set before you on this day life and good, evil and death. I command you to love Yahweh, your God, and follow his ways. Observe his commandments, his norms and his laws, and you shall live and increase, and Yahweh will give you his blessing in the land you are going to possess. But if your heart turns away and does not listen, if you are drawn away and bow before other gods to serve them, I declare on this day that you shall perish. You shall not last in the land you are going to occupy on the other side of the Jordan.
GOSPEL READING: Lk 9: 22- 25
And Jesus added, "The Son of Man must suffer many things. He will be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the Law, and put to death. Then after three days he will be raised to life."
Jesus also said to all the people, "If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it, and if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. What does it profit you to gain the whole world while you destroy or damage yourself?"
If Christ himself were to ask you to "deny yourself and take up your cross each day and follow me," how would you respond? As Christians we desire to follow the teachings of Christ; we wish to follow his example. However, this desire to follow him may be limited by our mundane preferences and aspirations. It is very difficult to go against currently prevailing values and culture and to go out of our comfort zone and give up what is agreeable and satisfying for us.
If we truly wish to follow Christ, his instructions are very clear: "Deny yourself and take up your cross each day and follow me." Hopefully our love for Christ would prevail and motivate us to follow him as he is.
We cannot serve two masters. We cannot be like Christ if we are materialistic and worldly. To imitate him means to love as he did in his service of others, thinking more of others than ourselves.
They say that at their studies at the University of Paris, St. Ignatius of Loyola transformed the brilliant Francis Xavier with the repeated question and warning given in today's Gospel reading, "What does it profit you to gain the whole world while you destroy or damage yourself?" Following Christ and St. Ignatius, Francis gave up a promising university career and emptied himself to bring Christ to the Indies. In losing his life, Francis saved it and saved many others.
Have a good day!
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