Daily Reflection – 2/21/2020
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “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 and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.” (Mark 8:34-9:1)
In today’s Gospel, the Lord teaches us that whoever wishes to be a true Christian needs to deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Him. What does that mean in terms of our daily life?
In choosing to follow Christ, it is not enough to just talk about doing it. We are required to act. He explains that it is a journey through which love is expressed in action to God and one’s neighbor.
This kind of love is possible only if we are ready and willing to deny ourselves, our wants and our desires. In this life, we are giving a choice of two life styles. The first choice is preserving our life. This is a life in which, because we cherish our personal life above all, we devote it to ourselves and our personal enjoyment. We are indifferent to the needs and troubles of our neighbors and avoid all situations that require us to exert ourselves on behalf of God or our neighbor.
The second choice is a life in which we love God and our neighbor more than ourselves. This choice requires that when necessary, we deny ourselves, our wants, our personal “I”. We are ready at all times to submit ourselves to the will of God, no matter what God is requiring, and to the service of our neighbor. We accept without grumbling all trials that befall us as the will of God and are never deaf to the needs of our neighbor. We may in this way lose our personal life, but we earn a much greater one, an eternal blessed life. Choosing between the two is the life choice that each one of us as a Christian must make.
Jesus then encourages us to make the right choice by reminding us that no matter how happy and successful we can become in this life; it is only for a very short amount of time. He asks if the price of losing our eternal soul in exchange for even the greatest temporary enjoyment is a price worth paying. Where we seem to have lost everything and to have died, we become fully alive in a way that can never taste death. No one can take that vision from us, the memory of being with Jesus and reaching out, as he did, to those genuinely in need of us.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, I want to follow you as your disciple. I gladly offer all that I have to you. Take and use my life as a pleasing sacrifice of praise to your glory.”
A true disciple gladly gives up all that he has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with His will, then His will must be done. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?