Father Nathan Homily | June 28, 2020
Take up your cross and follow me…
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
– MT 16:24-26
Anyone who doesn’t take up his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.
— MT 10:38
Each one of us has a cross to carry. There is no need to make one or to look for one. The cross we have is hard enough for us. But are we willing to take it up, to accept it as our cross?
Jesus took up his cross.
What we have to do is take up the cross. Our cross is made not of wood but of our burdens, worries, and problems, illnesses, conflict with our families, or sometimes our own weaknesses. Perhaps there is no big cross, only a multiplicity of the little crosses. However, enough drops eventually fill the cup to overflowing.
The cross we carry may not even be visible to others. IT may not be an outward thing but an inward thing, such as depression or grief. There are heavy crosses though we cannot weigh them on a scales.
The most painful cross of all, however, is the one in which we have no choice. For example, the cross of living with a difficult person. It is a lot easier to choose a cross for oneself than to accept the one that comes, so to speak, in the line of duty.
Over and above these crosses, which come to everyone, are the crosses that come to us because we are disciples of Christ. The most common reason for giving up the practice of faith is not intellectual but moral. People know that to follow Christ would subvert their plan, which is often mercenary and vain-glorious, and would mean saying no to themselves in certain things.
In baptism, we were buried with Christ
— St. Paul Rom 6:4; Col 2:12
Following Christ involves a dying to self. This process of dying to self begins at baptism. St. Paul compares baptism to death. “In baptism, we were buried with Christ” At baptism, we let go of the old life to sin, and became a new creature able to live in the freedom of the children of God. This is, of course, a lifelong process which we can embark on, and persevere in, only with the grace of Christ.
But the purpose of this death is resurrection. The death of the old, sin-ridden self-results in the birth of a new self, modeled on Christ. The person who selfishly grasps at personal fulfillment will only see it slip through his fingers, while the one sacrifices himself for Jesus will find true fulfillment.
Christ did not choose the way to ease or evasion. He chose the way of self-sacrifice and suffering. It was not that he was in love with suffering. No, never at all. It was because he chose the way of love. And Love inevitably results in suffering. But then love is the ONLY thing that makes suffering bearable and fruitful.
We are saved NOT by Christ’s suffering but by HIS love.
And it was through his suffering that he attained to glory. If we suffer with him on earth we will be crowned with him in heaven.
The road of suffering is a narrow and difficult one. It is a great comfort for us to know that Christ, the innocent and sinless one, has gone down this road before us, and gone down it to the end. This road is not the same since he traveled it. A bright light illuminates it. And it does not end at the Calvary but at Easter.
Have a Blessed Week,
A Word About Staying Safe and Well During the Time of Covid-19.
Coronavirus is a pandemic situation.
Please note the pandemic is an everchanging situation and advice and information changes rapidly. This information is no substitute for professional medical advice and is the current guideline. As the situation evolves this advice will likely evoke as well.
Here are 10 basic role and duties World Health Organization (WHO) would like people to know about the outbreak:
1. People should wash their hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with an alcohol-based solution.
2. Disinfect surfaces like kitchens and work desks regularly.
3. Seek information on the situation from reliable sources, like a local or national public health agency, WHO or a local health care professional.
4. Anyone with a fever or cough should avoid traveling. If sickness starts while on a flight, inform the crew immediately.
5. Cough or sneeze into a sleeve or tissue. Throw the tissue away and wash hands.
6. People over the age of 60, or anyone with an underlying health condition, have a higher risk of contracting a severe case of the disease. Those people might need to take extra precautions to avoid crowded places and sick people.
7. If someone feels sick, they should stay home and contact a doctor or local health professional about the symptoms.
8. If any person feels sick stay home and seek medical advice.
9. A person should seek care immediately if they develop shortness of breath.
10. WHO said it is “normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially if you live in a country or community that has been affected.” People should find out what they can do in their communities and discuss how to stay safe with people in their workplace, school, or place of worship.
We continue to work to find ways to keep our community healthy and safe during this time of the pandemic. Please know that your health and safety are our # 1 concern as we find ways to return to worship.
Continue to pray daily to the Holy Spirit for guidance and hope.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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My dearest people who are all close to my heart!
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