The Gospel Today
Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” This verse of the Gospel is so striking to me because this was the same verse that kept on ringing in my ears when I was still discerning to enter the seminary two years ago. God has spoken to me through this verse. When I told my parents about my decision that I will be entering the seminary, this verse was in my heart and mind which made me decide to pursue with my plan despite their vehement disapproval. After a year of having been inside the seminary, this same verse has created more questions about my vocation: have I really come after Jesus Christ here in the seminary? Have I really denied myself? Have I really taken up my cross? And have I really followed Jesus Christ?
Have I really come after Jesus Christ? A year of life in the seminary has answered a lot of my questions about my vocation but has also posted new ones. One thing that I am certain is that I am called to serve. As I continued with my discernment, God seemed to pave the ways for me to the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi. God used events and people for me to be introduced to the life of this great saint. I must say that I am compelled by his dedication to follow Christ and his radical conversion. Having this in mind, I know that I have yet to do more and be more in terms of faith in God in order for me to say that I have finally come after Jesus Christ.
Have I really denied myself? I may have given up my career, the material things that I used to enjoy, and the life that I used to be so comfortable with, but I know that there are more that I need to deny myself from. These are those which are very close to my heart which I cling so much up until this time thereby making it difficult for me to move on with my vocation and totally offer myself to God just like human beings do.”