The Gospel Today
Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden D. Nuique)
“What can a person give in exchange for his life?” My Ignatian Retreat last summer has this key point: the unwavering and unrelenting love that God has for me. My being created in His image and likeness – in order to love as He loves – and my sustained existence are the primary proofs of His love for me. Despite my history of sin – from Adam and Eve, to my own parents, and my own sins – God overwhelms me with love. Yet God is just, as well as loving. If God executes His justice in my case, I deserve the withdrawal of His love – therefore, death – and the withdrawal of His presence – therefore, hell. What can I give God in exchange for my life? I can give Him anything and everything.
Leaving home four years ago to enter the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary and continuing to persevere in priestly formation is not giving God everything. In order to do that, I should give away my personal preferences; that is, I should surrender the control of my life to Him. In the seminary, I have faced my weaknesses: personality traits that repel other people away, cause my failures, or make me unhappy. Some of these weaknesses I have managed, while with some I continue to struggle. I have also given up my previously strong direct involvement with my family and loved ones. Some of their concerns I am able to address or aid with, mostly I beg the Lord’s help for a pleasant outcome. Finally, I have lain at the foot of Christ’s cross all my plans and ambitions. I do not know how the next day will unfold but I entrust it completely to God.
What can I give God in exchange for my life? I can give God anything and everything.