SALVATION AND THE CROSS

Friday 7thAugust- Friday of week 18 of the year

SALVATION AND THE CROSS

Matthew 16:24-28

Seeds are planted deep in the soil, where they undergo corruption, and die.. However, out of this decadence sprouts the seedling, the future plant. The seedling is of greater value and capable of greater produce than the single seed that was sown. In the seed we see a replica of the human life. Without renouncement, mortification and reformation, we cannot live a fulfilled and productive life. Without the cross we cannot achieve perfection.

As the way of Salvation passes by the way of the Cross; we cannot claim to love Jesus and then disdain the cross. To partake in the life of Christ, we must be ready to share in His suffering and death. Like the seed, we must be ready to let go of ourselves, our desires, and our will, surrendering them to that of our heavenly Father. We must learn the wisdom of God in what humans consider as foolish; we must learn to bring virtues out of the corruption of the world. In the face of frustration and annoyance, we must learn patience; in the face of grave offense, we must forgive; in the face of hatred and disdain, we must show love; in the face of despair, we must keep hope alive in God.

By bringing out virtues out of the circumstances around us and learning to recognize and bear our cross in every situation we find ourselves, we renounce our human nature and its desires. Each time we recognize and accept the virtues contained in our situations, we are bearing our cross. The more the Spirit of God triumphs in our life, the more we partake and share in Christ’s suffering and death, which is the way to salvation. Our crosses are largely products of our daily life; in our workplace, in our homes, in the church, in our schools, on the playgrounds, in the marketplace, these are all roads that can lead us to salvation. Our duty is to recognize the crosses we are called to bear in these places and pray for the grace to bear them and follow Jesus.

Prayer: Lord grant me divine wisdom, to learn and accept the virtues you teach me each day and give me the grace and strength to follow your path. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102 – Why are we too supposed to accept suffering in our lives and thus “take up our cross” and thereby follow Jesus?

Christians should not seek suffering, but when they are confronted with unavoidable suffering, it can become meaningful for them if they unite their sufferings with the sufferings of Christ… Christians have the task of alleviating suffering in the world. Nevertheless, there will still be suffering. In faith we can accept our own suffering and share the suffering of others. In this way human suffering becomes united with the redeeming love of Christ and thus part of the divine power that changes the world for the better.

Hide a Treasure: “My son, if you have decided to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Keep your heart upright and remain resolute; do not be upset in the time of adversity.” Sirach 2:1-2 CCB

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-40; Psalm 77:12-16. 21; Matthew 16:24-28

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS

Thursday 19th February – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Luke 9: 22-25

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS

Crucifixion was a torturous means of execution used by the Romans for many criminals during the first century. It symbolized shame and rejection; hence, Jesus’ followers must have been taken aback when he told them that following Him would demand “carrying their crosses daily”. Yet, His words would become real to them as He carried His own cross to the place of His crucifixion. Dear young friend, Jesus words remain as true and relevant today as they were 20 centuries back. He says to you and I: “If you want to be my follower, renounce yourself, take up your cross everyday and follow me…what gain is it if you win the whole world and ruin or lose your very self?” (Luke 9: 23, 25)

The season of Lent brings that call more to our awareness. As you journey with Jesus through the Stations of the Cross this season, think about the crosses you are called to carry: it may be an unpleasant situation at home, school or work; putting up with a very difficult person; persecution on account of your faith; financial difficulties or some struggles in your personal life and journey of faith. Our joy is that we do not carry the cross alone – we carry it behind our master who knows all things and desires to form us into better disciples through those crosses. Let us trust Him to strengthen us as we carry our crosses and follow Him faithfully.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you carried your cross to Calvary without complaining. Please forgive me for the times I have complained about my crosses and help me to carry them faithfully and trustfully. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 277- What are the Stations of the Cross?

Following Jesus on his Way of the Cross by praying and meditating on the fourteen Stations is a very ancient devotion in the Church, which is practiced especially in Lent and Holy week.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:24 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20; Psalm 1: 1-6; Luke 9: 22-25

WHEN FOLLOWING CHRIST BECOMES TOUGH

Saturday 31st January – Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

Reflection: Mark 4: 35-41

WHEN FOLLOWING CHRIST BECOMES TOUGH

Each time I read today’s gospel reading, I marvel at the fact that one can sincerely follow God’s instruction and still experience storms. It is commonplace in today’s Christianity to see people preach that the moment we decide to follow Jesus, all our problems come to an end. Such people attribute every form of challenge in life to something contrary to God’s will. However this preaching of a “cross-less” Christianity is nothing but deception.

Christ calls you and I to carry our cross and follow Him if we truly want to be His disciples. The cross is never easy to carry. It is never a pleasant experience but as we follow Christ, the crosses we are called to carry help to increase our faith, trust and commitment to Him. In today’s reading, it was Christ who initiated the decision to cross over to the other side (Mark 4:35). Yet, there was a storm on the sea, so great that the disciples were afraid their boat would capsize. Christ certainly knew that there would be a storm yet He initiated the movement and was there to rebuke the waves when the disciples called out to Him. And through that circumstance, the disciples were filled with awe at His power over the forces of nature.

Dear friend, true discipleship does not imply a problem-free life. Rather, it promises us the assurance that God is working out all things for our good. Are you going through a storm? Do not be afraid. Simple make your situation report to Jesus and trust Him to rebuke the waves on your behalf. Every difficulty He allows would make us stronger, better, holier and more faithful Christians.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to trust you even in the midst of difficulties. May I find peace and confidence in you, come what may. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 486 – Why should we petition God?

God, who knows us through and through, knows what we need. Nevertheless, God wants us to ask, to turn to him in times of need, to cry out, implore, lament, call upon him, indeed, even to struggle with him in prayer.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Hebrews 11 1-2, 8-19; Luke 1: 69-75 (Canticle); Mark 4: 35-41