The Cross: Essential to Discipleship

February 17, 2017
Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Mark 8:34—9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“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
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Jul Elden D. Nuique)

We know that Christ, our Master, has willingly embraced his cross and carried it up to the bitter end of his mortal life on Calvary. If he whom we call Master and Lord has done such a thing, we need to imitate him, to show ourselves his true disciples.

When I entered the seminary six years ago, I thought that I already had a lot of things going for me. I believed that my God-given talents and various experiences were enough to bring me to priestly ordination. I thought wrong. Through the many psychological and spiritual formation programs of the seminary, I realized that my personal weaknesses were such that, left unchecked, I would be a liability to myself and to other people. If I became a priest as I was when I entered the seminary, I would hurt other people and, by extension, the Church. Therefore, I plunged myself into the seminary formation. It was akin to picking up one’s cross daily. There were many self-realizations throughout the years, hurtful to myself because I needed to acknowledge my weaknesses before others, who sometimes were the ones to point out my issues. In addition to that, my own self-condemnation would haunt my waking hours even when I was by myself.

It was only by the grace of God that I continued to persevere. The awareness of his constant love for me, helped along by daily meditation and reception of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, kept me humble and calm in the moments of struggle. The deepening relationship between God and myself, particularly as he brings me through events of suffering, becomes the healing balm for all sorts of hurts and pains. Knowing that I was carrying my own cross, as Christ carried his, helped me because I was certain that I was following my Lord and that he would continue to strengthen me out of his great love for me.

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