21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he* must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. 22* Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”23 He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
The Conditions of Discipleship.
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,* take up his cross, and follow me.25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 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? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” ~ Jesus in v. 24
Today’s Gospel instructs us in the way to handle the cross that comes with life. Jesus indicates that the way to become his disciples involves forgetting self, carrying the cross, and following him. He encourages us to have the determination and strength to pick up the cross and fight to the finish. When Jesus tells us, “Fight!” he knows what it means. When we say the Resurrection is Christ’s victory, we know that it is only because he fought for it.
The problem with many of us is that instead of Fight, our favorite word is Flight. When we realize the enormity of the challenges before us, we do not pick up the cross. When there are problems between couples within the family or workplace, isn’t it that many people would rather flee, keep quiet, seek liquor or drugs, hang out with friends, than courageously face the issues?
That explains why many people are unfulfilled, full of regrets, sad, and depressed. A life of constant running from our responsibilities and our possibilities deplete our energy and strength. It moves us away from the destiny planned by God, our own “resurrection.”
Jesus points to us the cross not as a sign of pain but as a symbol of hope, a path of victory. If we ignore the cross of life, we will never grow, mature, or develop beyond our comfort zones. We need to take up the cross and experience “creative suffering” – the necessary task of identifying our problems, confronting them, and overcoming them. This is the path of the strong, the hero, and the saint. They were blessed because they chose “fight” over “flight.”
Credits: Fr. Ramil R. Marcos, MA, STL; I am with you always, reflections on the Sunday Gospels
Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarro-abel.blogspot.com/).