Mk 8:34-9:1 What It Takes
In Genesis 11: 1-9, God-Almighty confused the world with various languages so that the only language the entire world could understand would be that of our actions. The language that speaks louder than words and unites all of God’s children is the language of love. This is the language of Christ.
How many years the Lord wishes to give to each and every one of us may be a mystery. What may happen tomorrow or 5 years from now remains a mystery. Who comes into our lives and who exits our world will always come as a surprise to us. But there is one thing that we can all be sure of, and that is what purpose our lives serve.
Jesus whole existence can be summed up in the words, “Yes, I have come to do your will.” I do not know who said this, I suspect the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, but in one simple sentence this unknown author summarizes brilliantly the rhyme and reason for Christ’s existence, and the Lord also sheds light and helps to clarify the purpose of my life too. After all, we are brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Christ died for us. His death cleansed us of our sins. In fact, his death killed death itself. This is what it means to be a Christian: to believe in this. But to live as a Christian means to undergo a certain kind of death – to surrender your will and lay down your arms of pride, vanity and sensuality to the Lord so that He, and only He, can transform you back into himself.
Saying you’re sorry, admitting your mistakes and acknowledging that you have been going down the wrong path is an essential ingredient to this process of surrender. It is called repentance. It is not easy. It means more than eating your vegetables. It means stripping yourself of years and years of Mr. Rogers: “You’re special.” You are not special. Sorry. You are special only if you begin to switch sides and begin to fight on the right side – the tiny army of repentant sinners: prostitutes, lepers, cripples and thieves. I think that if I could see Mr. Rogers now I would strangle him. But then, that would keep me from moving to the other side! Mr. Rogers is not alone, he and a bunch of others helped coco wash an entire generation of self-conceited and self-absorbed children. And it will only get worse before it begins to get better. The Lord today tells us, you are special when you do something special for others.
The Father will not take me back until I repent. “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” As I mentioned before, I may not know exactly when I will be called to the Kingdom, but it will happen. And I must be prepared for it to happen. The Lord will not take me back until I have willfully submitted myself to this kind of humiliation and kind of death. Will he help me? Of course he will. How? By putting a little of himself in me. We all have remorse. Regardless of where we come from, we can all feel remorse for doing wrong rather than right. The Christian acts on it and falls to his knees and repents. But he is called to go a few steps further. Actually, he is called to “deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The Christian is called to imitate, extend and multiply the Lord. He becomes another Christ. He dies to himself so that others may live. It does not mean being a doormat. On the contrary, it means being strong enough to carry upon your shoulders and to know the Truth, share the Truth, live the Truth and love the Truth. It means not being “ashamed of the Son of Man” in this “faithless and sinful generation.”
Father, he who knew no sin was made sin for us, to save us and restore us to your friendship. Look upon our contrite heart and afflicted spirit and heal our troubled conscience, so that in the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit we may proclaim your praises and glory before all the nations. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.