Friday of the Eighteenth Week In Ordinary Time
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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?A couple of days ago was one of those days when the Son began to shine on me. It was a “great-awakening” moment. I realized just how much of a sinner I am.
It was an awful day! Early in the morning I began to feel the heat of the Son, and it was very, very intense! Thankfully, the day ended wonderfully, with an admission of guilt and an outpouring of God’s grace. I finally did what I should have done long ago: I quit fighting fire with fire.
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself. There are moments in our lives when we really feel like we can do no wrong, and that the world is at my beck and call, ready to be crushed by me at my command. Success, like superior intelligence, can do that to us. It can give us this false sense of superiority and take us to places we never ever dreamed of going: Hell (and I don’t necessarily mean the eternal one). How easily the roar of the crowd can turn a lamb into a gladiator.
I’m sure you know what I mean.
The Lord reminds his men: If you wish to follow me, then begin to deny yourself. He is telling them that a comfortable life is not in store for them; and that recognition will “Passover” them. Instead of the laurels of success, persecution will follow them wherever they go.
But why “deny yourself?” For one simple reason: the worst form of persecution always comes from within.
This knowledge is not meant to frighten them but to humble them. Pick up your cross and turn your life around!
The most important thing is not to win every argument; it is to win every soul. The most important duty is not to win at any cost; it is to love at all cost. The most important rule is not to fight fire with fire; it is to turn the other cheek. It is scary how certain circumstances in our lives can quickly turn us upside down to empty us of all that is good, pure and holy.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Again, what do I gain in being a thorn in someone’s side? What do I gain in holding on to resentment, bitterness, anger and frustration? Do I not become a thorn, a dagger, a disturbed individual?
Break away from all these chains! Free yourself with the instrument that liberates all men: humility. Repent and believe!
Now you're ready to carry your cross and turn a new leaf over!
Accept this challenge.