|LUKE 9:18-24 - By Deacon Kenneth Phillips - Jun 20|
|2010 - Gospel Meditation|
|Saturday, 19 June 2010 19:19|
Christianity is profoundly a religion of paradox – a religion of “both/and” – and at its heart are the Beatitudes, intriguing and paradoxical. Today, Jesus is “praying alone in the presence of his disciples.” He is “alone” and “in the presence of.” It is in the context of this reality – alone in the presence of his Father while also present to the disciples – that he asks this seminal question: “Who do the crowds say I am?” Those who have not had the intimate relationship with me that you have had; those who have never seen evidence of my relationship with my Father; those who may not have the insight into my mission that you have had: Who do they say I am?
How often is it that the deep questions of life emerge out of situations of paradox; situations that cause us to marvel or to wonder why: the shooting of an innocent child within the “secure” confines of her home by a security agency; the survival of a young boy in a plane crash that kills the rest of his family and everyone else; the dramatic rescue of a person trapped for 14 days under the rubble of the Haiti earthquake; the courage of a teenager to circumnavigate the earth alone or to climb Everest. And so the follow up question emerges – “Who do you say I am?” What insight into the deeper realities have you gleaned from your association with me? How does your Christian faith inform your perceptions of, and responses to the experiences of your life?
Today, Jesus invites us to confront our own awareness of the reality of “both/and,” as we seek to respond to the question he poses to us. Our readiness for the declarations he makes about his own sufferings and our willingness to “take up the cross everyday and follow him” can be measured by our level of awareness of who he really is. The realities of “Lord and Servant,” “Priest and Victim,” “Shepherd and Lamb” challenge us to a deeper understanding of what it might mean to be a disciple of Jesus. The servant is no greater than his Lord. Only if I can authentically identify Jesus and his mission, will I be able to accept the message of the Cross.
And so, “they will look on the one they have pierced,” and wonder why is the Church presenting us these texts so soon after Easter. But it is Christ crucified that we preach, and though the Resurrection is critical to our faith, if there is no crucifixion, there can be no resurrection. They will look on the one they have pierced because the manner of his death and the way he accepted that death, reveal that, “In truth, this man was Son of God” (Mk 15:39).
The ways in which we deal with the paradoxes and challenges of life serve as a witness to our understanding of who God is, who we are, and to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. On even limited reflection, each of us can think of persons in life circumstances which require heroic virtue; circumstances which may go unnoticed, but for the discerning eye. Persons in such circumstances, who today live out the passion of the Christ, share in the redemptive ministry of Jesus if they offer up to God, that which they cannot yet change. Let us be comforted by the words of the Entrance Antiphon: “God is the strength of his people. In him, we his chosen live in safety.”
How difficult is it Lord, for us to accept the paradoxes that so often confront us on our earthly pilgrimage! We dismiss the wisdom that comes from the mouths of little ones, we resent the fact that sometimes the last are first, and we are very reluctant to accept death of any kind, even though it so often points the way to new life. Give us, Lord, the grace to embrace confusion with insight, light with darkness and joy with pain, as you use the varying circumstances of our lives to bring us to a deeper awareness of who you really are – the One who died that we might live. Teach us how to die to ourselves daily and to trust in your promise that when we lose our lives for your sake, we truly save our lives. We thank you for the witness of the many heroes and heroines of our faith. May their lives continue to inspire us to persevere especially when we are tempted to give up.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources