Matthew 16:24-28(Today's Gospel Reflection)

Friday, August 8, 2014

+ Matthew 16:24-28 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour. I tell you solemnly, there are some of these standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.’
REFLECTION: In today's Gospel, Jesus makes it clear to anyone who desires to be his follower. He or she has to know the demand of discipleship which is absolutely radical in its approach, and it does not admit any half measures.: "If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me". Hence, the first thing we must do is to follow Christ. It is not a matter of first suffering and then following Christ. Christ must be followed from our Love, and from there we can then understand the sacrifice, the personal negation: "For whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will find it".
It is love and mercy that lead us to embrace sacrifice. Our suffering per se would be of little value. God is not sacrifice; God is love, and only from that perspective, do our pains, fatigue and the cross in our existence, have any meaning, following the model of man whom the Father reveals us in Christ. St. Augustine said: "When one loves, one does not suffer; but if one does suffer, the very suffering is loved". Thus, in life, we do not seek a divine origin to explain our sacrifices and shortcomings. But we rather transform them into acts of faith and love for the glory of God. This is how we are to follow Christ, deserving the Father’s merciful glance, the same glance which the Father looked at his Son on the Cross. For the faithful disciples, the eternal reward awaits them.

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