Homily (Reflection) for Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time (II) (5th August, 2016) on the Gospel
(Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Opt Mem)


Nah 2:1.3; 3:1-3.6-7;
Deut 32:35-36.39.41. (R. v.39);
Matt 16:24-28.

Topic: Behind the cross.

We recall that Peter rebuked Jesus in yesterday’s gospel because He told them what was waiting for Him in Jerusalem. In today’s gospel, Jesus said to them,

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Cross in general has very scaring face and many find it very difficult looking beyond the scaring face. Although “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1Cor 1:18).

Behind the cross is the glory to be revealed, cf. 1Pt 1:5; 5:1. Hence Saint Paul writes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). Again, “therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2Tim 1:12).

As one runs away from cross, let us remember Christ’s warning, “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (Jn 12:25). Either one is with Christ or one is not. And to be with Him, one must carry his/her own cross.

Bible Reading: 1Pt 4:12-19.

Thought for today: Glorification follows suffering with Christ, cf. Rom 8:17.

Let us pray: May God help us see beyond the scaring face of suffering – Amen.

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