IT IS WORTH THE COST

Tuesday 18th August: Tuesday of week 20 of the year

IT IS WORTH THE COST

Matthew 19:23-30

Anyone who consistently makes the “easy alternative” a way of life would possibly never leave a positive imprint in the sand of time. History celebrates success and times have shown us that only few out of the multitude demonstrate the needed sacrifice and courage to pay the demands of excellence. Life is about choices and there is a cost to every decision we make. By our choices, we are either growing in virtues or losing them; and it is the virtues that we exhibit that truly set us out as follower of Christ (Matt. 7:20; Matt. 5:20).

From yesterday’s reflection, we were counselled on the need to give God first place in our hearts; to resist the seductive lure of the worldly attractions that compete with the love of God in our hearts. In today’s gospel reading which is a continuation of yesterday’s, our Blessed Saviour gives consolation to all who have made a total commitment to Him – “…everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life”( Matt. 19:29).

Dearest in Christ, our call as followers of Christ is one that comes with its costs. To truly be Christians, we cannot but embrace the life of self-denial and sacrifice. Discipleship of Christ comes with some choices that ordinarily run contrary to the natural inclination of the fallen man. What are those things that you are tightly holding unto that are preventing you from freely and fully serving the Lord? As the Holy Spirit daily impels us to a deeper union with the Lord, are we embracing His demands or fleeing from them? No cost is too high to make heaven as there is a greater cost to pay for anyone who loses out (Matt. 16:26)!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please help me to daily say yes to your will, to forsake all that displeases you as I am called to a deeper intimacy with you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 618– The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”…He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him],” for Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

Hide a treasure: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? Matthew 16: 26 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Judges 6: 11-24; Psalm 84: 9, 11-14; Matthew 19: 23-30

THE SIGN OF OUR REDEMPTION

Wednesday 13th August – Wednesday of week 19 of the year

Reflection: Ezekiel 9: 1-7, 10: 18-22

THE SIGN OF OUR REDEMPTION

One of the easiest ways to identify a Catholic is through the sign of the cross. Every Catholic knows that we begin and end prayers with the sign of the cross. However, are we aware that the sign of the cross is a powerful prayer in itself?

Today’s first reading gives us one of the historical perspectives of the sign of the cross. In an earlier vision, Ezekiel was shown how people were desecrating the temple of God by worshipping idols within the temple (Ezekiel 8: 9-12). Hence God was to visit the people with his wrath but before this, He made a provision for those who were righteous amongst them by marking their foreheads with a cross (the Hebrew letter ‘tau’ which is in form of a cross). The lives of those who were marked were to be spared (Ezekiel 9: 4-6). A similar situation is seen in Revelation 7:3, 9:4, 14:1 where God ensures that a seal is placed on the foreheads of those who belong to him.

The sign of the cross therefore marks us as Children of God, born again in Baptism in the name of the trinity and sets us apart from the evil of the world around us. Also, as the early Church Fathers taught, the cross that we trace which is the sign of our salvation is also a sign of protection from temptations and danger. Finally, we invoke the name of the Trinity, asking for their presence around us each time we make this simple but powerful sign.

Beloved, let us not be ashamed to make the sign of the cross wherever we are; even in public places. It is a powerful prayer that reminds us though we are in this world, we are not of this world.

“Mark all your actions with the sign of the life giving Cross. Do not go out from the door of your house till you have signed yourself with the Cross. Do not neglect that sign whether in eating or drinking or going to sleep, or in the home or going on a journey. There is no habit to be compared with it. Let it be a protecting wall round all your conduct, and teach it to your children that they may earnestly learn the custom”

St Ephrem of Syria (died AD 373)

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for destroying the power of sin and death over me through the Cross. Please help me to embrace joyfully and faithfully the life of righteousness you have won for me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1235 – The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration of Baptism, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of redemption Christ won for us by His cross.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For the language of the cross remains nonsense for those who are being lost. Yet for us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Ezekiel 9: 1-7; 10: 18-22; Psalm 113: 1-6; Matthew 18: 15-20