March 2, 2017
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
The Gospel Today
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. Keith R. Buenaventura)
In life, we have some difficult choices to make, such as choosing the school we want to go to in college, choosing the career path we want to embark on, choosing the person to marry or to be single or, in my case, to enter the seminary with a vocation to priesthood. For some, there are also incidents in their life that they encounter life-or-death choices. Of course, when one encounters this situation, he would definitely choose life over death.
In our Gospel reading for today, we begin the season of Lent by asking ourselves what choices we make for our life as a Christian. We need to be aware of the sinful part in us that will make us look at the dark and slippery options that will eventually lead us to death, whether physical or spiritual death. The Gospel shows us what would choosing to follow the will of the Father entails for Jesus. He freely accepts the suffering, rejection by the elders, chief priests and the scribes and, finally, to be put to death. A person who wants to follow the Lord needs to accept carrying that cross up to Calvary.
When I entered the seminary, I had embraced the little deaths that I encountered in my life. Choosing to follow the way of Jesus meant giving up and renouncing myself, and taking up my own cross daily. That is a difficult choice to make, but it is a choice that brings me blessings. To carry the cross is not really frightening especially because I know it is Christ who I am journeying with. To lose our lives by giving ourselves to others is a sacrifice which would lead us to greater happiness and meaning.