Thursday, February 21, 2019

“Men have said that the cross of Christ was not a heroic thing, but I want to tell you that the cross of Jesus Christ has put more heroism in the souls of men than any other event in human history.”

There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us. And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world. – St. John Paul II: (1920 – 2005: was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.)

Gospel Text: (MK 8:27-33)
Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”

Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” 

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth, so, he took it home so he could watch it come out of its cocoon. One day a small opening appeared and he sat and watched as the moth struggled for several hours as it forced its body through the little hole. As he continued to struggle he appeared to get stuck. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth and he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily, but had a swollen body and small shriveled wings. The man continued to watch with the expectation that the wings would enlarge and expand to support the body, which would contract with time. Neither happened. In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings and it was never able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved it freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of struggle, he deprived the moth of health and a good life.

As we take up our cross and follow Jesus there will be struggle and there will be suffering. I pray that I am able to bear suffering and to understand and accept that it is not only essential for growth - physically, mentally, and spiritually, but essential in allowing me to better understand and follow Jesus who leads us to everlasting life.

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