Friday of the 18th Week of the Year

Matt 16:24-28

The Conditions of Discipleship

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

This is a true story. A young professional suddenly found himself, jobless. With his last bills in his pocket, he thought of going to Sunday Mass, purposely to implore God’s help. At offertory he understandably had no intention to drop a coin, but the choir began to sing a hymn in which the Lord was asking of a person everything he had, “ang lahat ay ibibigay.” For some reason, the lyrics of the song pricked the young man’s conscience and, before he knew it, he had already emptied his pocket of his very last bills. On the way home, he was feeling very sad, for he had literally nothing more to live. To his pleasant amazement, however, a surprise was waiting for him in the house: a lady guest, someone he had helped before, with a fat envelope for him and the news of new and lucrative employment.

One has to empty oneself in order to be filled. “For,” as Jesus said, whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever losses his life for my sake will find it.” This is the very essence of the religious life. God is coming, but only to those who need him, to those who are in the margins – the poor, the sick, the suffering. Those who are healthy have no thought of a healer and those who have superfluity of wealth are in no position to be humbly seeking another’s help.

The truly religious man is characterized by voluntary poverty, especially the poverty of spirit. For he knows that a person gains nothing “if he wins the whole world but loses his soul.” As we go through many moments of trials and struggles when our priorities, will be tested. What is it we love more – God or earthly joys? And whatever it is we love reveals the kind of person that we are, for we are what we love. (Bro. Romy Abulad, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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St. Clare Offreduccio was born in Assisi. She was so impressed by St. Francis that when she was 18 years old, she left her family and her family’s wealth. She then founded the “Poor Clares,” living a life of remarkable discipline, great holiness and strict poverty.

In life, we have possessions and gifts, relationships of love and companionship and other important things and values that should be purposely guarded and ardently cared for. But there are other things that we need to learn to discard. One of rhythms of the inner life is to hold on to the good and let got of that which is distracting, evil and hence, unproductive.

Surprisingly, “we prefer the old to the new,” says Fr. Henri Nouwen, “the familiar to the unexpected, the predictable to the creative.” We hold on to old habits and practices, to past hurts and disappointments even though we know that these are poisoning the wells of our inner spirit. We stagnate, and our life becomes boring and empty, dull and dreary. We have to let some fresh air blow in into our life.

Along this line, I like to share the following poem quoted by Fr. Mark Link that compares our relationship to Christ to two people on a tandem bicycle. It goes something like this:

“At first, I sat in the front; Christ, the rear. I couldn’t see Him, but i knew he was there. I could feel his help when the road got steep.

“Then one day, Christ changed seats with me. Suddenly everything went topsy-turvy. When I was in control, the pride was predictable-even boring. But when Christ took over, it got wild! I could hardly hold on.

This is madness! I cried out. But Christ just smiled and said: ‘Pedal!’

“and so I learned to shut up and pedal – and trust my bike companion. Oh, there are times when I got scared. But Christ just smiles, touches my hand and says: ‘Pedal!’

What keeps us from following Christ better? We need to learn to go, letting go of the wrong, the useless, the predictable. Letting go will free us for new horizons, for it creates an emptiness that can be filled with better and greater things. (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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We are living in an age wherein pain or suffering is considered the downside of life and so it has to be avoided or as much as possible less felt. The advances in the field of technology and medicine show how much time, resources and human intelligence are put together to respond to this human desire to evade any pain. Over-the-counter medicines offer us fast relief from body pains. Laws are made in such a way that a child should not or would never experience pain. In some first world countries one can invoke the ‘right’ to die to avoid pain or suffering.

Denying the reality of pain might also have an adverse effect. The growing incidence of separation among married couples, the inability of young people for lifelong commitment like the religious life or marriage, the horrific data of substance or sexual abuse and addiction can be traced to modern man’s incapacity to bear pain and to suffer for somebody, for something or for higher values such as freedom, justice, peace, equality and other noble pursuits.

Jesus rejected the direct connection between sin and suffering. He opposed sufferings in all forms and yet he has given himself up to suffering including death on the cross. For Christian suffering or pain should not be shunned but to be overcome. The gospel today challenges us to embrace the cross because of its redemptive role in our life. The reality of pain in human existence would hopefully lead us to be patient in suffering and be compassionate with those who are suffering. (Fr. Anthony Salas, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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“Sure ka?” (“Are you sure?”) This is, today, a common question or expression to determine how convinced and committed one in pursuing what one wants to do. Am I sure, really sure, that I wish to respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow him? I may say that by becoming a religious I have given my life for Jesus. How sure am I of this? Or I might say that I really want to give up everything for Jesus. What makes me so sure of this?

Following Jesus or becoming a Christian maybe legally mine by virtue of my baptism, but it is not something automatic. I want to claim the grace of baptism, the grace of redemption, but this does not come automatically. I must work for it. In a similar way, becoming a real Christian, a follower of Jesus, does not happen just like that. I have to make it happen.

What do I need to do? First, I need to believe it. I need to believe that only Jesus suffices and nothing else. I need to believe it is possible to deny, and lose myself and that I can carry my cross. Second, I need to appropriate to myself the reality that, by my baptism, I ought to follow Jesus and that I ought to give my life for him and make him the only real treasure or possession I wish to have. Third, I must start working for what I believe. I must start denying and losing myself. I must begin carrying my cross. I must not exchange my life with anything except the life that Jesus has offered me. If you are sure of that, do it! (Fr. Patricio R. delos Reyes SVD Bible Diary 2015)

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August 5, 2016 Friday

O entlich Wasserpredigen und heimlich Wein trinken” (Heinrich Heine -1844). I translate:  “Publicly urge people to drink water while the preacher secretly drinks wine”. This is Heines’ way of criticizing self-consumed and dishonest church personnel who try to convince their poor churchgoers to simply come to terms with their poverty because everything is better in heaven anyway. That means in effect, no need to exert eff ort in order to better their condition.

That’s not Jesus’ way. On the contrary, he requires all those who wish to follow him absolute self-sacrifice and a hundred percent full eff ort. Christianity is not something for half-hearted and easy go lucky, lazy people. No. The Lord requires full dedication to work, full eff ort to help the poor and abused, readiness to forgive, to love one’s enemies, to serve others, to do good at all times. And that this has to be coupled with a life that is simple. The Lord will then repay each one according to his deeds. Good deeds and simple lifestyle 24/7. That’s what the Lord needs. That’s how authentic Christians, Jesus’ followers, look like (Fr. Roberto “Jun” C.Alda, Jr., SVD Missionshaus St. Wendel, Germany Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/810-august-5-2016-friday

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LIVE, LOVE, LEET GO. It is gospel passage like: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” that convince many of us that Christianity must always be a solemn religion. This passage makes us think that it is forbidden to clap in Church because religion is a serious matter and therefore, no laughing matter. It is true that religion is a serious matter and following Jesus is a serious matter, but being serious does not mean being negative. Christianity is not simply about being solemn and being serious and giving up and sacrificing all the time. Christianity is positive. It carries a positive lesson. It brings out in us a positive outlook. What is this positive outlook? This gospel text does not speak about negative things. It speaks about God’s plan for us. What is that plan of God for us based on the gospel, first, God wants us to live fully. God does not want a mediocre life. God does not desire for us a half-baked life. God’s will for us and plan for us is fullness of life.

Live fully, love deeply, and let go cheerfully.

First, live fully. What do we mean when we say we must live life to the full? It means being heroic. It means being ready to go the extra mile even if the law does not require it. Every Christian is called to be a hero. Every Christian is called to be generous. Every Christian is called to go all the way without hesitation all the time. That is the key to heroism. These are the keys to sanctity: generosity, living life to the full, celebrate with life. It is not forbidden for us to celebrate life. We must enjoy life, this life given to us by God.

Second, love deeply. We say that we love with the heart. Some of us blurt out statements like: “I don’t love her anymore” or “I don’t love him anymore”. Actually, what we mean is “I don’t feel the joy and pleasure of loving anymore.  When the Lord says to us that we must love deeply, the Lord is telling us to go deeper than the heart, to go deeper than the feelings. Examining the structure of our body, going deeper than the heart means going the guts. Deeper than the heart lies our sikmura. In fact, in oriental religions, the focus of the body, the core of the body is not the heart but the guts. It is the core. It is the sikmura and it is the kalooban. When the Lord asks us to love deeply, the Lord is asking us to love more than feeling, to love with our guts, to love with our sikmura, even if that should go empty. But we know that it is only in loving deeply that we can also live fully.

The third point is, we must let go cheerfully.  We must carry our crosses cheerfully. The Lord is asking us to be happy, not necessarily to be merry all the time. To be merry is to sing and dance and to smile all the time and to crack jokes and yet, we can still be happy. We can still be joyful because of the Lord in our hearts. Let us never ever doubt that we are the most precious creation of God. Because of all the places that God can choose to dwell, God has chosen us to be His dwelling place.

Live fully, love deeply and let go cheerfully. One final word, the Lord says to us in the Gospel: “carry your cross.” Carry your cross, don’t just drop it. Carry your cross, don’t leave it anywhere. Carry your cross, don’t give it away. Carry your cross, don’t divide it into pieces. Carry your cross. The way we carry our crosses is by living life to its fullness, yet it is so simple. The simplicity comes from God. It becomes complex because we make it so. (Bp Soc Villegas, Love Like Jesus pp. 66-67)

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A great marvel that the Lord emphasizes in His word today – the gift of life. In our short gospel passage, the word “life” is mentioned four times. Indeed, God is life, and this is a gift he shares with us through his Spirit. The Word of the Lord reminds us that we must ask ourselves: “What can one give in exchange for his life?” that is, how we make a return for the gift of life that the Lord gave to us?

  • LLive Life. We must discover our intended purpose in life.  God works with a purpose. Then, we must pursue that purpose. This is greatness. It is measured not against what others do; it is measured against what we are supposed to do.
  • I Intimacy, not just acquaintances. We must not live inwardly for ourselves, but outwardly for God, and for others. We must pour ourselves out in relationships that are meaningful and humanizing. What defines our relevance in life is this: the lives we have touched.
  • F Fullness. In whatever it is that we are engaged in: let us put our whole selves into it. The Lord says – “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it.” To try to do something, and to try to “save my life” is mediocrity. St. Irenaeus loved to say: “The glory…..is man fully alive.”
  • E Empty yourself. Do not be afraid – excel, transcend, give life your best all the time (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday p. 242)

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FRIDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 16:24-28. Unsa may mahitabo sa tawo nga dili maantigong modumili sa kaugalingong kailibgon? Ang kalaog nahimong kabahin sa samarang kinaiyahan sa tawo human matintal si Adan ug si Eba. Tungod kay kini dili man apil sa unang plano sa Dios, ang kalaog magdala’g kadaot sa tawo. Pananglitan, ang tawo nga magpalabi’g kaon og pagkaon nga tam-is, parat, o kaha mantikaon sa kadugayan maluya ug masakit. Ang tawo nga magpatuyang og inum masakit usab. Aron mahimsog ang lawas ug kalag, kinahanglan nato ang pagdisiplina sa kaugalingon. Angay kitang makat-on sa pagdumili sa atong mga kailibgon. Gani, ang atong relasyon sa Ginoo ug sa isigkatawo madaot usab kon kita laog kaayo. Kon ang kaugalingon ra ang atong gihunahuna, mawad-an kita’g gugma ug panahon para sa Dios ug sa isigkaingon.  Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/08/friday-of-18th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Friday, August 7, 2015

FRIDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 16:24-28. UNSA MAY MAHITABO SA TAWO NGA DILI MAKAMAONG MODUMILI SA KAUGALINGONG KAILIBGON? Ang kalaog nahimong kabahin sa samarang kinaiyahan sa tawo human matintal si Adan ug Eba. Tungod kay kini dili man apil sa unang plano sa Dios, ang kalaog magdala’g kadaot sa tawo. Pananglitan, ang tawo nga magpalabi’g kaon og tambok sa baboy maluya ug masakit. Ang tawo nga magpatuya’g inum og bino masakit usab. Aron magpabiling himsog ang lawas, kinahanglan ang pagdisiplina ug pagpugong sa kaugalingon. Bisan ang atong espirituhanong kinabuhi madaot usab kon kita laog kaayo. Ang kanunay’ng paghunahuna sa mga kalibotanong butang maoy makaguba sa atong relasyon sa Dios ug sa isigkaingon. Nindot ang pahimangno sa ebanghelyo: “”For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/08/friday-of-18th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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TAKING UP OUR CROSSES – The image of taking up one’s cross and following in the footsteps of Jesus is a very strong one in the Gospel. Embracing death for the sake of the Gospel was relatively prevalent in the first few centuries of the life of the Church. The number of men and women who were martyred in those centuries is enormous. The depth of faith of the Church, as measured by the commitment of its members, was great.

Even though death for the sake of the Gospel is not necessarily everyone’s call, the saints have discovered many ways to embrace the call of taking up their crosses over the centuries since. Today, we celebrate one of them, Dominic de Guzman, who, with St. Francis of Assisi, founded mendicant friar congregations that witnessed to the gift of poverty as part of the call to follow Jesus. They shunned the wealth and luxury of the Church of their day and returned to the roots of poverty and simplicity in order to discover a new and powerful way of proclaiming the Gospel.

Dominic was appalled at the way heresies were causing men and women to leave the Church in droves. The bishops and priests were powerless to stop them as their lives no longer reflected the simplicity of that of Jesus and the Gospel. He decided to embrace the call to poverty and so began a movement and order of preachers whose lives reflected more fully the truths of the Gospel. It was not an easy task, but his congregation was very influential in stemming the rise of many heresies of their time.

Francis’ way of life was probably even simpler than Dominic’s, thus witnessing to the truth that joy is not found in human possessions or earthly powers and pleasures, but in living the Gospel as simply as possible. It was a watershed moment in the life of the Church and one that was to shape Her spirituality up to the present day. People are still inspired by these two simple saints who simply took up their crosses and followed in the footsteps of Jesus as best they could. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Who is your favorite saint? How does his or her life inspire you?

Jesus, You lived a simple life in obedience to Your Father’s will. Help me to cut away all the unnecessary things in my life so that I can focus on the few that matter and so make my witness to Christ all the more obvious and powerful.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-08

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HOW TO BE A REAL FOLLOWER OF CHRIST – We hear more and more preachers proclaim the so-called “prosperity gospel.” One gets the impression that wealth, a lot of money, and a fat bank account are signs that God loves us and favors us. Two questions pop up: Does it mean that the poor in the slums are not loved by God? And did Jesus teach this?

Take a look at the life and teachings of Jesus. We get the impression that He praised as blessed not the rich but those who have nothing. Just read the Beatitudes.

Contrary to the prosperity gospel, Jesus often stressed that a real disciple must deny himself. To deny oneself means, in every moment of life, to say “no” to self and “yes” to God. That means one must take up the burden of sacrifice — a life of sacrificial service.

Contrary to the prosperity gospel, Jesus and Pope Francis emphasize the cross. In his first homily as Pope, he said, “When we journey without the cross, when we build without the cross, and when we confess a Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly…”

Next, Jesus says that we must follow Him. Christian life is a constant following of our leader, a constant obedience in thought, word and action to Jesus. We are to walk in the footsteps of Christ, wherever He may lead us. It is a fact that if we live in constant search for safety, security, ease and comfort, we we will lose all that makes life worthwhile. Life then becomes unsatisfying when it could have been an adventure.

All this sounds difficult and depressing. But what Jesus is telling us today is that happiness is a natural result of a life of selfless service in imitation of Himself. Happiness is not just feeling good. Such feeling disappears only too soon. Real happiness is living for others, as Jesus lived and died for us by taking up the cross. And He invites us to follow Him, live like Him, and so find a happiness the world cannot give. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you see difficulties, problems and crosses as something to get rid of, or as means to follow Christ more closely?

Lord, the prosperity gospel sounds more attractive than Yours. And yet, Lord, You make me aware that following You, even on the way of the cross, is the only way to heaven. 

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-08-07

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DETACHED – For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25

The man we know as Saint Francis of Assisi was not always so “saintly.” In his young adulthood, he lived a life of partying and pleasure, very carefree. Being born into a rich family, he had everything a guy could want. But because of a series of events, Francis realized that he wanted to change. He decided he would live for God. He left the lavish lifestyle he led. He began to give away his belongings and upon his interpretation of Jesus’ message in a vision, he even sold his father’s expensive fabrics to help rebuild a chapel. His father disapproved of Francis’ behavior, so Francis cut himself off from his family completely, literally taking the clothes off his back. He lived in poverty while ministering to the needs of others, later on becoming one of the more popular and well-loved saints, so much so that our Pope has taken on his name.

Our worldly attachments — riches, popularity, vanity, pleasure, pride — are things that can hinder us from focusing on what is truly important. In denying all these, Francis found a life of meaning. In giving up all he had, he gained eternal life. Like St. Francis, may we find ourselves detached from this world, and immersed in His work, that we, too, can be called “saints” one day.Geraldine G. Catral (catral.geegee@beaconschool.ph)

Reflection: What do you truly value in life? How is it drawing you closer to God?

Lord, You are my true treasure. May I be ready to give up all for You.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-08-05

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IN LOSING OUR LIVES, WE FIND TRUE LIFE – As Jesus moved one step further in His teaching, some of His followers walked away. Following Jesus entails conditions unacceptable for some. It involves solidarity with His mission and destiny. This is difficult to understand especially when we are exposed to violence that destroys innocent lives. We are also tempted to walk away. Why do we need to take up the cross? How can the cross be God’s way of redeeming humanity?

Like the disciples, we may be afraid and confused. But Jesus invites us to journey with Him to Jerusalem and the cross. He wants us to be willing to lay down our lives for the suffering humanity and to follow Him on the path to martyrdom for the coming of God’s reign of peace. When God embraced the cross, He absolutely expressed His solidarity with us.

As we go with Jesus to face a world of injustice, we need to prepare ourselves. We have to re-learn the lessons of the Gospel. As we carry our cross — the cross of the world — we walk in the spirit of creative love to disarm the world. To be a disciple of Jesus is to carry the cross. We are called to freely submit ourselves to all kinds of suffering which humankind is afflicted with, like fear, anxiety, physical hunger and thirst, pain and death. To be in solidarity with them is to be near to the crucified people of modern times. In losing our lives, we find true life.

Albert Nolan in his book, Jesus before Christianity, expresses the wisdom of Jesus’ teaching in living a life of service for the other. He said, “To save one’s life means to hold on to it, to love it and be attached to it and therefore to fear death. To lose one’s life is to let go of it, to be detached from it and therefore to be willing to die. The paradox is that the person who fears death is already dead, whereas the person who has ceased to fear death has, at that moment, begun to live. A life that is genuine and worthwhile is only possible once one is willing to die — willingness to die for others.” Fr. Alex Balatbat

REFLECTION QUESTION: Who are the saints, prophets and martyrs who inspire you to follow Jesus on the path of love by carrying the cross?

Jesus, help me to walk with You for the healing of the world. Give me the grace to rise up to new life and follow You more closely for the rest of my life. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-08-05

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August 7, 2015

Friday of the18th Week in Ordinary Time B

Deuteronomy 4: 32-40; Mt 16: 24-28

Take Up The Cross

Today’s gospel tells us, “If anyone wants to be follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who   loses his life for my sake will find it”

It’s a radical confrontation for the modern men. Jesus’ verbs are not in tune with the modern man’s terminology nor like the promises of the modern leadership. His vocabulary is not attractive nor digested to the consumer world. Self denial, takes up the cross, follow the narrow path and follow Christ. Self denial means submitting to God. Submitting to someone is not acceptable today. Today everyone demand and argue for equality and freedom. Therefore, submitting to even to God is not acceptable.  Moreover, only in losingone’s life – the primary meaning of apollymi is to destroy – is presented as the value for saving one’s life.

So we face the chasm between Jesus’ call to discipleship and our own lives with modern consumer values systems. This encounter is very decisive and challenging. Few Christians abandon everything for God and for the sake of the gospel.

At this moment we should remember the distinctive voice of Jesus – ‘it is not anyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my father in heaven.” (Mt.7:21). Jesus’ gospel is not for preaching but for living. And living should be the means of preaching. That is why Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples saying ‘go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you’ (28:20). This means, Christian discipleship is in living and teaching others to live.

Now, to “take up the cross” then is not an invitation, for disciples to start going around looking for crosses to bear. The logic of the kingdom does not have to do with plotting the way to success. Instead, disciples are called to an obediently humble giving of self for the neighbour in which hearing and doing are brought into conformity and the whole of the law is fulfilled. Where preaching and living are merged, there Christ comes to life in today’s world and becomes tangible in and through the evangelizer. But it is not an easy way! It’s a challenge and demands ‘falling down and decay’ for the word of God.

Holy Pope Francis said in one of his recent homilies that ‘experiencing difficulty in openly professing their faith and in enjoying the legal right to practice it in a worthy manner’ is a real challenge that today’s Christian community is encountering in the world. He further affirms that there are brothers and sisters who courageous witnesses – even more numerous than the martyrs of the early centuries – who endure with apostolic perseverance many contemporary forms of persecutions small and big.’ This is possible only if one has the experience of the person of Jesus who has gone before us enduring all possible maximum sufferings.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may help us as he helped the apostles to become the true disciples submitting totally to the Word and cipher in oneself. Let us be able to say with St. Paul, ‘it is not I who live, but Jesus lives in me.

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-08-7

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Friday of the18th Week in Ordinary Time

Na 2: 1-3; 3: 1-3.6-7; Mt. 16:24-28

Take Up The Cross

Today’s gospel tells us “If anyone wants to be follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his   cross and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who        loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt.16:24-25).

It’s a radical confrontation for the modern men. Jesus’ verbs are not in tune with the modern man’s terminology nor like the promises of the modern leadership. His vocabulary is not attractive nor digested to the consumer world. Self denial, takes up the cross, follow the narrow path and follow Christ. Self denial means submitting to God. Submitting to someone is not acceptable today. Today everyone demand and argue for equality and freedom. Therefore, submitting to even to God is not acceptable.  Moreover, only in losing one’s life – the primary meaning ofapollymi is to destroy – is presented as the value for saving one’s life.

So we face the chasm between Jesus’ call to discipleship and our own lives with modern consumer values systems. This encounter is very decisive and challenging. Few Christians abandon everything for God and for the sake of the gospel.

At this moment we should remember the distinctive voice of Jesus – ‘it is not anyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my father in heaven.” (Mt.7:21). Jesus’ gospel is not for preaching but for living. And living should be the means of preaching. That is why Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples saying ‘go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you’ (28:20). This means, Christian discipleship is in living and teaching others to live.

Now, to “take up the cross” then is not an invitation, for disciples to start going around looking for crosses to bear. The logic of the kingdom does not have to do with plotting the way to success. Instead, disciples are called to an obediently humble giving of self for the neighbour in which hearing and doing are brought into conformity and the whole of the law is fulfilled. Where preaching and living are merged, there Christ comes to life in today’s world and becomes tangible in and through the evangelizer. But it is not an easy way! Its a challenge and demands ‘falling down and decay’ for the word of God.

Holy Pope Francis said in one of his recent homilies that ‘experiencing difficulty in openly professing their faith and in enjoying the legal right to practice it in a worthy manner’ is a real challenge that today’s Christian community is encountering in the world. He further affirms that there are brothers and sisters who courageous witnesses – even more numerous than the martyrs of the early centuries – who endure with apostolic perseverance many contemporary forms of persecutions small and big.’ This is possible only if one has the experience of the person of Jesus who has gone before us enduring all possible maximum sufferings.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may help us as he helped the apostles to become the true disciples submitting totally to the Word and cipher in oneself. Let us be able to say with St. Paul, ‘it is not I who live, but Jesus lives in me’. Dr. Thomas Muppathinchira CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-08-5

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Selling Your Soul

August 7, 2015 (readings)

Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Father Jason Brooks, LC

Matthew 16:24-28

Then 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? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

Introductory Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to seek the things that are above. Help me to seek the things that last forever, so that all the things that I do may give you glory and help my brothers and sisters to grow closer to you, who live and reign with Christ, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Petition: Father, give me the courage to take up my cross and follow in the footsteps of your Son.

  1. Friends of the Cross:There are many Christians that are willing to be friends with Jesus in good times. However, there are very few Christians that are true friends of Jesus, who embrace the cross at all times, even in the bad. Of course, it is never easy to be a friend of the cross, but who wants to be a fair-weather fan of Jesus and his Gospel? Our Christian lives are a constant battle. We should never forget that. We all are tempted to escape from the reality of our situation from time to time. Nevertheless, whoever perseveres until the end will be saved and have a fruitful life. We can’t expect to have a glorious eternity full of celebration and joy if we don’t shed some blood, sweat and tears here on earth for the sake of Christ and the good of our brothers and sisters.
  2. Money Can’t Buy You Love: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?” In other words, Jesus is saying that it doesn’t matter how much money you make, or what kind of car you drive, or what kind of clothes you wear, or what kind of degree you have. You might spend your whole life trying to earn millions of dollars and amass all sorts of luxuries and securities, but you will have done all this in vain. You will have missed out on the true meaning of life and the true treasure of love. Don’t make the mistake of constantly trying to make life easier and more comfortable for yourself. You will only end up being hopelessly miserable and extremely lonely.
  3. Paybacks Are Tough:“For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.” It is clear that Jesus will not let us into heaven just because we say we believe in him. He also makes this clear in other teachings throughout the Gospels. Faith alone is not sufficient to be saved. Even Satan and his devils believe — and shudder (cf. James 2:19). Let us reflect on the words of Saint James for further insight: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

Conversation with Christ: I pledge allegiance to the cross and to the holy, Catholic Church; and to the Kingdom for which it stands: One Body in Jesus Christ, everlasting life, with forgiveness and freedom from sin.

Resolution: I will perform some corporal work of mercy today. (“The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2447]).

© 1980-Present. The Legion of Christ, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission of Copyright Owner.

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 Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reflection for Friday August 5, Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 16:24-28

Reflection: During the fifteenth century a rich and educated man named Bernadino Realino left everything for Christ. At 26 he was already a lawyer,  a doctor and a town mayor, he had everything that a young man could ever ask for.

When he was 34, he went to attend a retreat and during that retreat he felt an overwhelming call from Jesus to become a priest. He left everything to become a priest and from that moment onwards he devoted his life to serve the poor.

This saint found the real meaning of his life by leaving all of his earthly riches and attachments in favor of Jesus. He found his heavenly wealth by leaving behind his earthly wealth. He knew that nothing compares to Jesus.

This is an eye opener for all of us who are so very enamoured by material wealth and earthly power. Many of us are so taken by the things of this world that we take Jesus for granted in favor of this world. But everything from this world is passing and temporary, someday we will leave it behind.

We will have neither earthly influence nor riches if we decide to follow Jesus. We would be losing many of our friends if we follow Jesus. But all of these earthly trappings are immaterial compared to the life that awaits us if we decide hear the call of Jesus.

To hear the call of Jesus is to be willing to leave behind our sinfulness, our arrogance and egotism. To hear the call of Jesus is to be willing to celebrate Holy Mass and read the bible. To hear the call of Jesus is to have the courage to leave behind friends who do nothing to us except to influence us to sin.

Are you willing to leave everything for the sake of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/08/reflection-for-friday-august-5.html

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August 5, 2016

REFLECTION: On the topic of suffering, it is easy to become confused. On the one hand, everything nowadays is geared towards making our lives easier with pre-cooked meals, time-saving devices, machines doing our work for us, etc. When we listen to the mass media, we get the impression that suffering is bad and must be avoided at all costs. On the other hand, we hear Jesus telling us in today’s gospel reading that we have to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Is Jesus glorifying suffering? Are Christians masochists?

The answer to this apparent dilemma is simple: there are two kinds of suffering (like two kinds of cholesterol, of fat, etc.,), a good kind and a bad kind, or the necessary and the unnecessary. The unnecessary suffering is the one that I impose on others through my selfishness or that I bring upon myself through my neglect, my excesses. The necessary suffering is the one involved in growing up, in facing my limitations, in giving up a harmful habit, in helping others, etc.

Jesus teaches us to fight the unnecessary suffering by feeding the hungry, visiting the lonely, etc. (cf. the Last Judgment in Mt 25:31-46) and to embrace the necessary suffering. His is a recipe for happiness.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3606-august-5-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 18th Week of the Year

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