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. Edgar R. Calma)
Whenever we have new friends and acquaintances, we usually put our best foot forward. We cook the best food, prepare the best amenities, and give our best to create a one of a kind comfort for our new found friends. This is also true when we are applying for a job. Definitely, we need to be presentable, able and capable to be part of their prestigious company. We need to create a good impression that they have found the right person for the position by putting our best foot forward.
In the Gospel Reading for today, our Lord Jesus Christ gave the conditions in following Him, “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 losses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus tells His disciples that the cause of following Him is to deny oneself and carry one’s cross on a daily basis. This is the condition of being a “friend” of Jesus. He placed His best foot forward when He carried His cross and totally obeyed the will of the Father. He prepared the best food for us in the Eucharist. He gave the best service and comforted us with His unconditional love and compassion. In fact, He did not only give His best foot forward but gave His all.
Jesus did not sugar coat the demands of how to become His true disciple and friend. He laid down the conditions in following Him in the midst of what the world presents to be an easy and comfortable life. He is asking us to seriously and painstakingly carry our small crosses in the ordinariness of our daily life. This may come in bearing one another’s weaknesses and woundedness, in being more patient and understanding towards our relationship with one another as well as letting go of ill feelings, jealousy, anger and envy. This also includes our perseverance in doing small sacrifices, selflessly carrying our household chores, office work, and by putting our best foot forward in every endeavor — all “my best” because of Christ. Amen.