Reflections - September 3, 2017

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  Mt. 16:24.
Last week in the Gospel Jesus asked:  “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit answered, “You are the Christ”.  Today in the Gospel Jesus begins to announce:  “……that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly……that he would be killed and on the third day be raised.  Peter took him aside and tried to dissuade him, but Jesus turned to Peter and said:  “Get behind me, Satan!  You are an obstacle to me”.  He later tells them:  “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”.
This week’s question is not:  Who is Christ for me?  But should be:  What “idols” do I have to renounce to follow Him?  Because as we saw the previous week, we can know “theoretically or superficially” who is Jesus without commitment.
To follow Jesus is to seek in all the moments of life “the will of the Father as Jesus did”.  As Paul says:  “ To allow a new way of thinking to transform a renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Rom. 12:2.
Of course, the will of God is not to glorify abuse, injustice, and at times psychological humiliation.  What I am trying to explain is that suffering will always be around as we walk through this world and when we assume it with faith we will receive “a new way of thinking and seeing things”.  St. Teresa said:  “Strength is needed, not corporal, but strength from up above, to be able to remain silent when one is wrongly accused”.  We must ask the Lord for the virtue of humility.  Since the really humble person, when compared with Jesus who was convicted without guilt, sees clearly an opportunity for spiritual growth, a purification of the ego, and an offer to the sacrifice of Christ through prayer.
I do not wish to end without reminding you that this Friday, September 8th, is the feast of Our Lady of Charity, the Patroness of Cuba.  The mother, Holy Mary, gives us an example on how to follow Jesus.  St. Teresa said:  “…..that the Lord gives great jobs to His favorites, among them the Cross”.  Let us imitate the example of Mary, her perseverance of suffering with Christ and reigning with her risen Son”.  Amen.