09 August 2019. Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Reflection (Sem. Lester John D. Cabais)
Every individual has a distinct experience of God. This experience could possibly bring someone to make a decision to deny himself, follow Jesus and take up his own cross. This decision brought Edith Stein or better known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross to her glorious end. It was the decision that made her one of the martyrs of Auschwitz. She died because of her faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel today wants us to see our motivation and inspiration why we follow the faith we received from our baptism. It invites us to see the zeal in our hearts as if we can follow Christ by denying ourselves, carrying our cross and following Him even in death. Today, our faith is under immense persecutions. Our church leaders are being accused because they practice their prophetic role in our society. Much more, how can we forget that priests, our shepherds, also got killed for whatsoever reason? These are shining examples of how our society, its people, the government and our values are slowly being weakened by idealism and not to care for others and have no fear of the Lord. These are the days when the unusual hating and profane words are just very casual to many are echoing in the airwaves. Civility and respect, which are most expected from those who are in power, become more and more old fashioned and irrelevant.
Like St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, can we also make a stand for the Lord and our faith? We wish to come and follow Christ, but are we willing to suffer with Him? As a priest-in-process, these are real questions and challenges in my vocation and a perfect venue for discernment and purification. Choosing this vocation means treading the path of dangers, uncertainties, and even death. But why would we worry? Paul, also a persecuted apostle of the Lord, testifies that “for me [him] life is Christ and death is gain.”
The Gospel Today
Matthew 16: 24 – 28
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”