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A Gospel according to Lk 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”

REFLECTION: "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

What is a daily cross? Why do we have to take it daily?

In our current society, the pursuit of happiness seems like the highest achievement a person must aim towards. Many believe the words of Ayn Rand on the subject: "The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness means man’s right to live for himself", or "that a man has the right to take the actions he deems necessary to achieve his happiness".

Unfortunately, this seems to have become the norm. Many people live just for themselves. Privacy seems to be the highest right a person has. I even know people that would avoid those who are suffering, so they not only get involved, but are not bothered by the inconveniences or pain of others.

New Age movements such as the power of intentionality wants us to believe that if we think positive, and demand "form the universe" we will achieve our goals. It is almost as saying "if you wish it, it will happen." So we are told not only to avoid negative thoughts, but also to run from anything that causes any discomfort in us, or in others. Almost as saying that if we don't hear about pain, it will not exist.

In any case, these people are teaching us avoidance or reality, and are basing this pursuit of happiness on the belief that there is nothing else after this life. That this is it, and we must do what we can to make the most of it to our own advantage.

C.S. Lewis said many years before these fashions took over western civilization: "I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity."

Of course Mr. Lewis was being sarcastic. Yet, it is true. Being a Christian is messy. We are tying to do God's will on earth, but we are merely humans. We want to be good, but not only for goodness sake: "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." (Mt 25:40). Our life is a cycle of trying to do good; asking God to help us do good; failing; falling; asking God for forgiveness, hopefully learning; and trying again...

Do we take our daily cross cheerfully every single day? Are we grateful for our daily struggles? Do we help others carry theirs?

My heaviest cross is to actually be cheerful about my daily struggle. I keep forgetting that trying to achieve comfort is what keeps me from trying to be like Jesus. To see others the way Jesus would look at them. To stop complaining about everything that is wrong, and being grateful of the blessings that I have.

In a nutshell, I need to stop trying to do my will, and instead will to do God's will...

Jesus, help me will to do God's will, and take my cross and follow you...


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