Thursday, February 11, 2016

"The first lesson in Christ's school is self-denial."

 “The Lord bestows his blessings there, where he finds the vessels empty.” ― Thomas à Kempis: (1380 – 1471: was a Dutch canon regular of the late medieval period and the author of “The Imitation of Christ”

Gospel Text: (LK 9:22-25)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”

The Gospel reading begins with Jesus predicting his rejection by leaders of his own people and his brutal execution. But even in that sharp and stark statement of his death he shows some light in the revelation of his resurrection on the third day. Jesus continues however in challenging his followers that to maintain fidelity as a follower we must be prepared to face our own path of the cross.

This call goes against most of our normal human instincts. Humility and renouncement of self goes against our tendency to advance ourselves in the eyes of others. 

As we walk the path of Lent and listen to the movement of the Holy Spirit inside of us in these times let us reflect on what choices we make. These may be choices of denial and sacrifice or they may be manifested as intentional acts of service and commitment to others. Whatever our Lenten journey, let us be comforted by the psalmist: “the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.”

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