Saint for the day: Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 11253)
Deuteronomy 4:32 – 40 – Psalm 77 – Matthew 16:24-28
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.’” (Today’s Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 16:24)
If you read the above quote from today’s Holy Gospel slowly, and let each word and phrase strike you with some insight and understanding of what life is all about you will discover a “pearl of great price!”
Do I really want to be a disciple? What does it mean to follow Jesus? What do I have to deny and how do I accept crosses as I follow?
In the first place, the “call of the disciple” as written in all of the Gospels requires a change in lifestyle. We have to leave what we imagined was a secure, good path to be on and follow this Jesus who had nowhere to lay his head! We’re still reading about the Exodus story and, just like the Israelites of old, we are asking ourselves why are we having so much trouble? “Better the devil we know than one that is uncertain.”
Sometimes the “crosses of today” blur our memories of the wonders that God has done in our lives. Most of this is the result of our being pulled into the hardship of the moment rather than being able to see Jesus calling us out of – whatever it is that is stopping us from following Him along the way. The verse from today’s Responsorial Psalm should be our “battle cry:” “I remember the deeds of the Lord.”
All of the “Exodus Story” scriptures that we’ve been hearing in these days are presented to us in order that we can reflect on what God has done in our lives as we journey to the Kingdom. Even if God just snatched us out of our “Egypt’s” and dropped us into a “kingdom” we probably wouldn’t believe any better. St. Thomas Aquinas’ saying, “Grace builds on nature” shows us that it’s in the journey it’s self that enables us to see the Resurrected Jesus.
The only way to see the empty tomb is through the journey through Calvary – in some way or other! What’s the wisdom of the saying, “I cried when I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet!”
Never forget the wonders that God has done in your life and the fact that He has said, “I will never leave you!” Amen!