The Gospel Today
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
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 (Sem. Tommy Gawain Lira):
I would like to focus on the verse that says “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”, as addressed to those who want to come to Jesus and become his disciple.
What is remarkable with those who really want to follow Him is the attitude. An attitude that is willing to give up self-prosperity and stability to become an itinerant life of discipleship to a man perhaps whom they do not know that much, as referred to the calling of the apostles.
The immediate and impulsive decision to follow Jesus not only emphasizes his personal attractiveness, but also serves as a model for discipleship in general. The unhesitating feeling is a kind of resoluteness or firmness that has quick response wholeheartedly of man to follow Jesus. Perhaps when we hear Jesus’ personal invitation, we can experience the unconditional enthusiastic feelings inside of us; a feeling of peace, joy and devotion.
Denying oneself is an invitation of leaving everything to follow Jesus. People might think of it as a reckless or mark of disregard of any consequence, but as Christians we believe that it is only through personal experience with Jesus Christ that we can explain such action.
This call of Jesus “follow me” is an invitation not just for the apostles but also for all of us to surrender everything to God and be transformed by his love. This is a persistent invitation for us to follow God and it is up to us to decide. Unless we have a personal encounter and personal experience with Jesus, through that relationship as it deepens we can also give our whole life to him.