Sunday, September 29, 2019

Weekly Prayer

 I receive a Weekly Prayer and decided to share with you. Please check this out at Living With Christ.

Week of Sunday, September 29, 2019

O God, help me to remember that time is short, eternity is long. What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death? To love You, my God, and save my soul is the one thing necessary. Without You, there is no peace, no joy. My God, I need fear nothing but sin. For to lose You, my God, is to lose all. O God, help me to remember that to gain all I must leave all, that in loving You I have all good things: the infinite riches of Christ and his Church, the motherly protection of Mary, peace beyond understanding, joy unspeakable! Amen. 

~  St. Alphonsus Liguori

Homily for Today

 Homily is at A Catholic Moment;

The kingdom of God has to do with a struggle against human tendencies and the quest for the right way of living. And what is this right way of living? It does not consist only in the good one does but also in the good he fails to do. Thus the readings today call us to be attentive to the little things we neglect because they count much before God. The first reading presents Amos’ message of woe and a prophetic warning against sin of complacency and indifference. The second reading is St. Paul’s “conscientization” of the young bishop Timothy over the duty attached to his vocation: fidelity to God (through life of witnessing and sound teaching) and care of the flock. The Gospel serves as the foundation of the Church’s teaching on the sin of omission (neglecting the good we ought to do). However, it crowns the whole message of today by opening another horizon, the “eschatos” (the end); whereby the type of life lived here on earth will either attract reward or punishment.

FIRST READING: Amos 6:1, 4-7.
The prophet Amos grieved over the fraternal indifference existing between the people of his time. The message was directed both to the house of Judah (southern kingdom) and the house of Israel (samaria as capital in the northern kingdom). He spoke against an increased disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor. Thus the prophesy of the indifference over the “collapse of Joseph” (in the sense of the little one, the poor one and the suffering) was a reminder to the rich that their attitude towards the poor depicts that of the heartlessness of their forefathers, the sons of Jacob, towards Joseph. They “ate bread” while their brother lay in the pit, and later sold him to Ishmaelites.
Because of the extravagant and luxurious lifestyle of the rich and leaders of the people, having no concern for the suffering of others (which was displeasing in the eyes of Yahweh), the prophet Amos predicted their ruin. Samaria the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel was overtaken by the Assyrians under Sargon II in 722 BC, whereas Jerusalem the capital of Judah was razed to the ground in 587 BC by the army of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The elites in these cities were led to a humiliating and punishing exile respectively thus fulfilling the prophesy made by Amos in 760-755 BC.

SECOND READING: 1 Timothy 6:11-16 
This pastoral letter was addressed personally to Timothy who at this time was the bishop of Ephesus. Paul who was much more older than him, and ofcourse a senior apostle reminded him of the duty imposed on him by his vocation. He called him to be faithful to the “yes” he said in the presence of many witnesses. What is this yes? To be faithful to the commandment of God, to uphold the doctrine undiluted and to look after the flock placed in his charge. It was indeed a call as an authority to learn to lead by example: concern for God and for the people.

GOSPEL: Luke 16:19-31: This is another parable of it’s kind recorded only by the evangelist Luke and the only parable whereby Jesus used a personal name (Lazarus) unlike others like good samaritan, a sower, a steward etc. For this, many have interpreted the parable to mean a live story told by Jesus rather than a mere parable. Be it as it may, this parable is found within the same pericope of Jesus’ teaching on the use of wealth as we saw last sunday. Specifically, today’s parable was told as a reaction to the Pharisees who loved money (Lk 16:14) that if the growth in material affluence in this life is not well managed and channelled, can pose a serious danger in the afterlife.
In the parable, we identify three major characters:
The rich man:
The name of this man was withheld in the whole narrative. Although the parable is sometimes called the parable of Dives and Lazarus, and this makes many to think that the name of the rich man was Dives. No, the traditional name Dives is not actually a name, but instead a word for “rich man” as was used in the text of the Latin Bible, the Vulgate.
The description given about him as one who often dressed in purple clothing and feasts magnificently depicts the lifestyle of the ancient wealthy Roman elites who had this appetite for luxurious and fashionable clothing. They go for expensive fabrics which were often coloured with costly tyrian purple (purple is an imperial colour associated with royalty and aristocracy) die.
What was the sin of the rich man? Certainly the parable did not condemn him for being rich. There was equally no mention of his express attitude of hostility towards Lazarus. Afterall he allowed him to lie close to his door and never drove him away. That is a good thing. Unfortunately, he was so much entangled in his personal life of material affluence that blocked him from attending to the need of Lazarus. Thus it is not enough to notice the presence of the other but to see their needs and to attend to them. Hence the sin of the rich man ( negligence and indifference). A sharp contrast to his attitude is that of the good samaritan. The samaritan figure was a rich man in his own way. Everything about him in the story suggests that he was rich (owing a means of transportation in that era, paying for a hospital bill and even promised to pay more on his way back. He did not just noticed a fellow, but he saw his need and attended to it.

As a derivative of the Hebrew word Eleazar, Lazarus means “God is my help.” The end of the parable satisfies the meaning. The parable described Lazarus as a poor man covered with sores and who used to lie at the gate. Apart from the fact that such description is an extreme contrast to the rich man, it equally showed that Lazarus had a triple situational problems. He was not just poor but he was equally a beggar and a sick man. He was in deep suffering, a wretch a destitute.
What was the righteousness of Lazarus? Certainly not because he was poor. Poverty has nothing to do with living a good life. Afterall in such a cultural setting his condition depicts malediction. On the contrary Lazarus was justified because he accepted his condition of life and did not allow it to make him lose focus on God. In other words, he suffered not for the sake of suffering but a suffering lived with serenity in God. How many poor people out there accept their condition. And some commit serious crimes in the quest to better their conditions.

The introduction of Abraham opens the second phase of the parable. His presence is Luke’s way of affirming the authenticity of the message and a way of calling the attention of his audience to aspire to be where their patriarch is; a place of righteousness gained through a righteous life. It could also be a way of contrasting the life of the rich man, that riches should not be an obstacle to a good life. Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold (Gen. 13:2) yet he lived a righteous life.
What was the role of Abraham?
As a father of all nation and the father of faith, Abraham mediated the relationship between the rich man and Lazarus who remained silent throughout the narrative. This shows that the poor are always voiceless but they have a God who is the voice of the voiceless (Prov. 31:8-9).

A Picture of the Afterlife
The use of Greek word Hades in the narrative is as a substitute for the Hebrew word for Sheol which is a place of darkness; a place where the dead await for judgments (1 Enoch 22…ancient Jewish apocalyptic text). But the picture we see in the rich man and Lazarus and Abraham is that of after judgment. Thus the rich man was already passing through gehenna (punishment meant for the wicked). The christian thinkers see the relationship between these two states as heaven and hell. But Luke told this parable as a contrary doctrine against the doctrine of the Saducees who neither believed in angels nor in the afterlife. It also stand as criticism against all philosophies of materialism and atomism that believe human life ends here. On the contrary, man is a creature of God and who is on a journey towards God and not a product of chance or cosmic evolution.

The irreversibilty of opportunities: The parable makes it clear that the opportunity to attend to the needs of the other will not last forever. It is either now or never. The rich man might have regretted his past and would have longed for a “replay of opportunity” or of life, but he was already caught up in this “eternal irreversibility.” This is a serious warning for us to do good with every single opportunity we have. Any good we neglect cannot be reversed, and God takes account of them all.

Still selfish over there: The parable equally reveals that the rich man was selfish even on the other side. He was not able to think beyond himself and those related to him. What was his second request to Abraham? ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ Even beyond, he was not able to think outside the box; no sense of universal brotherhood. Ofcourse he loved his family no doubt. But it could be the reason why he did not notice Lazarus who was not part of his family. And maybe he was also generous to the people of his rank. But this is not charity. It is just a natural thing to help those connected to us either by blood or by social status. Charity is charity when it becomes sacrificial. It makes meaning when it goes beyond the boundary of our families and people of same rank with us to affect the lives of strangers. Let us be careful when place much emphasis on our families and friends. It is good to love and cherish them. But we must ask ourselves today: does our love go beyond these persons? Do we really notice that “Lazarus” who does not belong to those we cherish? We will be judged on the basis of the “Lazaruses” we neglect. They are lying helpless, tattered, hungry and dejected in every corner of our societies.They may not belong to us, but they belong to God. Let’s change our style of approach to people and develop a sense of openness and universal brotherhood. Let’s pick up one Lazarus today and we will make a difference. Let’s pick up one Lazarus today and we will not need a drop of water to quench our taste after, for we will surely have it in abundance.
Lest I forget. The dogs were more observant and responsive to the plight of the poor Lazarus than the rich fellow. This shows he had a serious problem of insensitivity.

The eternal barrier: The parable equally teaches us that there is no cross-over in the after life. We cannot learn to be good there so as to be admitted. I believe that the gulf between the Hades and the Bosom of Abraham was not fixed because God is nursing a cosmic grudge against man. No, it is simply the gulf between the justice of God and the obstinacy and wickedness human heart. This explains the dangerous nature of sin. It is capable of creating a distance between man and God. But this distance can only be broken through repentance. It was too late for the rich man. He knew that he was in great suffering and he equally knew the beauty of the other side. Interestingly he was also aware that he did not qualify to cross over if not he wouldn’t have asked Abraham to send Lazarus. Oh what a wretch we will become if we pretend not to see the wounded face of “Lazarus” begging us for mercy.

We live in a world where millions of people sit like Lazarus outside the door. We seem to have grown used to seeing the poor. And some of us have adopted the popular saying, “we cannot help everybody”, “we cannot solve all the problems” as our motto. If one does not checkmate this mentality or tendency, it can lead to ignoring the needs of others, even when it is critical. Let’s open our “doors” (that’s our eyes and our hearts) to see if Lazarus whom we pretended not to have seen is still lying there. He does not only need our money. He could be depressed and heartbroken. He could be that orphan or that widow. He could be that fellow lying in the hospital needing presence more than medication. Please our smiles and words of peace and encouragement are our own riches. Let’s give them out to heal many wounds today. Let’s not sit and say what can I do? Even advocacy is a way out. We must be sure of this; our actions here will determine the kind of eternity we will have.

Thank you heavenly Father for putting us again on the right track to eternal life through your word today. Forgive us in those moments we have abandoned “Lazarus.” Open our hands, our eyes and our hearts today to take care of him since he is also meant for “Abraham’s bosom”. Amen.

Prayers and Meditation

"Lord Jesus, you are my joy and my treasure. Make me rich in the things of your heavenly kingdom and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others the spiritual and material treasures you have given to me."

In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.

 The Meditation comes from Kairos please check out their site.


What most absorbs your time, your attention, and your heart? 

In the parable of the rich man who refused to help the beggar named Lazarus Jesus paints a dramatic scene of contrasts - riches and poverty, heaven and hell, compassion and indifference, inclusion and exclusion. We also see an abrupt and dramatic reversal of fortune. Lazarus was not only poor and a beggar, he was also sick and unable to fend for himself.  He was "laid" at the gates of the rich man's house. The dogs which licked his sores probably also stole the little bread he got for himself. Dogs in the ancient world symbolized contempt. Enduring the torment of these savage dogs only added to the poor man's miseries and sufferings.

The rich man treated the beggar with contempt and indifference, until he found his fortunes reversed at the end of his life! In God's economy, those who hold on possessively to what they have, lose it all in the end, while those who share generously receive back many times more than they gave away.
Hope in God and his merciful help
The name Lazarus means God is my help. Despite a life of misfortune and suffering, Lazarus did not lose hope in God. His eyes were set on a treasure stored up for him in heaven. The rich man, however, could not see beyond his material wealth and possessions. He not only had every thing he needed, he selfishly spent all he had on himself. He was too absorbed in what he possessed to notice the needs of those around him. He lost sight of God and  the treasure of heaven because he was preoccupied with seeking happiness in material things. He served wealth rather than God. In the end the rich man became a beggar!
Do you know the joy and freedom of possessing God as your true and lasting treasure? Those who put their hope and security in the kingdom of heaven will not be disappointed (see Hebrews 6:19).

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Am 6:1a, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
 Woe to the complacent in Zion!
 Lying upon beds of ivory,
 stretched comfortably on their couches,
 they eat lambs taken from the flock,
 and calves from the stall!
 Improvising to the music of the harp,
 like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
 They drink wine from bowls
 and anoint themselves with the best oils;
 yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
 Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
 and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
 secures justice for the oppressed,
 gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
 the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
 the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
 but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
 your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Tm 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power.  Amen.

Alleluia Cf. 2 Cor 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied,
'My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Homily and Reflection on Today's Readings

Found this at Catholic Moment and have shared with you,

The teachings of Christ are often incomprehensible with the logic of the human mind and the principles of the world. It’s as if his intention is always to toughen the path of his followers in order to make them true and authentic. Yes, Christianity is not a secular institution, and the gospel is not a mundane ideology. It is the imitation of the life of Christ, who won our salvation only through the way of the cross. Therefore, the readings of this day help us to understand that it is not easy to follow God. Yes, until we become fools in the eyes of the world, we cannot follow him. It requires total commitment to the will of God by putting him at the centre of our lives.
FIRST READING: Wisdom 9: 13-18
There is no doubt that the Hellenistic philosophy of pessimism over the human body infiltrated the mindset of the diaspora Jews. The writer of the book of Wisdom was conscious of this trend and pointed it out as he addressed the Jews in Alexandria Egypt; “For the perishable body weighs down the soul…”
For most of the ancient philosophers, the true nature of the human person is realized when there is an ontological (philosophy of being) separation of the two components of the human person (body and soul). Hence, the soul must separate itself from the body as from fetters. This separation is not only realised in death but equally through a renewed life, a sort of attaining a “spiritual life” by undergoing initiation and revelation of spiritual truth (the state of a pure philosophy).
The writer of the book of Wisdom did not stop at pointing out the limitation of the body as perceived by the philosophy of his time, he equally reveals the insufficiency of human reasoning (which is the central emphasis of philosophers) as worthless. He rather opted for divine wisdom and the Spirit of God as the only way through which man can discern the will of God. Thus, the truth which the thinkers believed could be attained by rational means is falsified in the message of the book of Wisdom. Since God is the absolute truth, the human person cannot access this truth except through the wisdom that God himself gives.
This message message is a counter philosophy and a criticism against the philosophy of the world devoid of God; a philosophy which tends to project man as the “epicentre” of everything, and who believes so much in the power of his intellect as against divine illumination. In the eyes of the Wisdom writer, this is foolishness, since it is only the Wisdom that comes from God that can set man on the right path and enables him to do what pleases God (v.18). What is this Wisdom? Christian hagiographers see in Jesus the “Eternal Wisdom” who comes to reveal the mystery of God.
GOSPEL: Luke 14: 25-33
The gospel message is in line with the first reading in that, the teaching of Jesus can never appeal to the philosophy of the world. The theology of the cross is the nucleus of the Christian message. St. Paul pointed this out earlier when he said: “We preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks” (1 Cor. 1:23) and equally made it the source of his glory: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:13).
Luke presents this gospel to his audience pointing out the cost of discipleship. Thus he opened the pericope by indicating that a great multitude were after Jesus. And immediately he turns our attention to Jesus’ definition and choice of discipleship. In other words, it does not suffice to follow him, but there are certain principles that should serve as prerequisite to becoming his followers . These can be summarized into “detachment and sacrifice.”
In the Palestinian setting during the time of Jesus, there was much emphasis on the family. This is simply because the identity of a man and his social security lies in the family. The parable of the prodigal son reveals how insecure and wretched one can be when he cuts away from family ties. But introducing the cost of discipleship, the Lucan Jesus insists on the fundamental option for God. Thus the path of true discipleship would mean, hating father and mother and wife and children and brother and sister and even oneself . What is this hatred all about? In order not to be locked up in confusion, we must distance ourselves from the English meaning of the word. In the semitic language, the concept of love is used in terms of preference of one thing over another. Thus when A prefers B to C, then we say that A hates C. It is a strong and straight message of Jesus to his disciples that it is not possible to be a true disciple if one does not love God above everything. In other words, God cannot just be part of one’s life but the centre. It is this choice of renouncing everything to follow Christ that makes it possible to walk on the way of the cross which is the second call of Jesus in the gospel message. And what is this cross all about? It simply means that to accept the gospel is to accept hatred and persecution from the world. It means accepting to “hate” one’s family and the self in order to fall in love with God. Therefore, the cross is indispensably Christian; for a crossless Christian is a Christless Christian.
SECOND READING: Philemon 9-10.12-17
From the above affirmation, we see the practicality of the gospel message in the second reading. From the very first moment Paul accepted the way of Christ, he accepted the way of the cross:
He suffered rejection (Acts 18:1-6)
He suffered sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness (2 Cor. 11:27)
He suffered persecution (Acts 13:50; 14:19; 16:22; 21:36; 22:22)
He suffered shipwreck (2 Cor. 11:25).
He suffered imprisonment (2 Tim 2:9; Acts 28.16.30; Eph 6:20; Phil 1:; Col 4:18; Phile 1.9.23)
He suffered death (under Roman emperor Nero around 64 AD).
Paul’s letter to Philemon today is one of those letters believed to have been written within the four walls of the prison (1&2Timothy, Titus, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon and Colossians), in other words from ” the cross. ” He lived the message of the gospel by “hating his family and even himself” for the sake of Christ. No wonder he wrote: “Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews…But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ (Phil 3:5.7-8).
Paul spent his entire life proclaiming the gospel and embarked on several missionary journeys.
Writing from the prison today, he simply tells us that the word of God cannot be imprisoned. He addresses this personal letter to Philemon, a new convert to Christianity, challenging him on the cost of discipleship, that is, accepting the cross by forgiving Onesimus his slave who once stole from him and made his way to Rome. A more challenging cross is Paul’s call on him to welcome Onesimus no longer as a slave but as a beloved brother. This might have been a difficult message for Philemon but that is the consequence of welcoming Christ in his life; the way of the cross.
All of us have particular things or persons in our lives that tend to distract us from giving full attention to Christ. And most often, it is our personal weakness and lifestyle that we have refused to let go. Jesus’ call today is that if we truly want to be his disciples, we must ‘develop hatred’ for the things that are not compatible with the new life we have received. It is a call to make God our priority in life.
A friend once frowned over a Sunday celebration that spanned for almost 2hrs, yet he is a type that seizes every opportunity to hangout with friends and spend hours having fun. If 2hrs are too much for one to spend before God just once in a week, yet spends countless number of hours in the name of fun, then I wonder where we are going. The presence of God makes some persons uncomfortable. And many have completely lost the habit of prayer.
Like the book of Wisdom pointed out, human intellect is insufficient to access the mystery of God. It takes divine Wisdom which is Christ himself to enable us understand the mystery of the cross. Unfortunately, the trend of Christianity we have today is gradually shifting away from the gospel of the cross. And the wind of pentecostalism is blowing harder such that many of us seem to lose our focus from the message of the cross. Still for some, it is now an old fashion message. After all since Christ has paid our debt, we are not meant to bear the cross again. This has succeeded in generating “half-baked” Christians; Christians of alleluia and not of the passion.
For our crosses to lead us to salvation, they must be borne for the sake of Christ. Most of the crosses we bear are imposed on us by the world and by the evil one and not necessarily by the gospel. Paul suffered for the sake of the gospel as well as all the apostles and the saints. But most of us are bearing crosses resulting from our lives of sin and corruption, and from reckless lives of the past. But it doesn’t matter. Whatever be our crosses, we must make effort to unite them to the cross of Christ who says: “Come to me all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28).
It takes “yes” to follow Christ. We have all said yes to God on the day of our baptism. Are we still conscious of our promise to follow him and to reject the way of Satan and the world? Or are we often caught up between decision and indecision? We need to accept the “yes” challenge with heroic commitment through the spirit of detachment and renunciation in our daily lives. Real discipleship demands true commitment through the power of prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christ does not oblige us to be his disciples, and that is why he said: “If anyone comes to me…”
Oh Lord our God, your word is truth and life. Speak to our conscience today, that we may understand what you ask of us, to be true disciples ready to walk on the way of the cross. Do not allow our personal convictions and the influence of the world to deviate our attention from the path of truth. Give us instead your wisdom and your Spirit to enable us understand the mystery of your being, so as to make a fundamental choice of you above every other thing. You who live and reign with Son and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer and Reflection

"Lord Jesus, your are my Treasure, my Life, and my All. There is nothing in this life that can outweigh the joy of knowing, loving, and serving you all the days of my life. Take my life and all that I have and make it yours for your glory now and forever."

Lord Jesus, I come to you once again in prayer. Even though I cannot see you, my faith tells me that you are present. You are ready to listen and desire to speak with me. Your presence gives me hope because you are the all-powerful God, the creator of heaven and earth. You are the source of all that is good in my life. Nothing happens to me without your knowing and permitting it. My hope leads me to love. I want to be one with you in mind and heart, identifying myself with your will and your standards.

Reflection from Regnum Christi;
1. The Crowd and the Disciples: “Great crowds” followed Jesus. His popularity increased. The time was ripe to win over the crowds with some promise of well-being. However, Jesus does not act like a politician. It’s not about winning votes, but about winning souls with a message of salvation. It’s not about empty promises, but about promises of eternal fulfillment for those who follow him. He calls me to be one of his few faithful disciples, who esteem all things as rubbish to attain Christ.

2. Hate and Love: St. John tells me that “God is love.” Jesus himself tells me that the greatest commandments are to love God above all else and to love my neighbor as myself. Why then does he ask me to “hate” so many lovable people and things? Perhaps the better expression is to “renounce.” Jesus asks me to love only one thing — rather, one person — absolutely. Only God should be the absolute center of my life. All other loves come after and are at the service of this supreme love. Is there something or someone that competes with God for first place in my life?

3. Opt for the Cross: If Jesus’ message is not softened, it is a difficult message. Carrying one’s own cross, shouldering the instrument of torture and death is the equivalent of cooperating in one’s own death. That’s what Christ asks me to “sit down and decide” if I am willing to do. It is the condition for becoming his disciple and for making it to the end of my life as a faithful friend and follower of my Lord.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, you lead me by example. I thank and praise you, because you go before me and show me the way. You also give me the strength to carry my cross every day. So, as I kneel down and consider what you ask of your followers, I decide to undertake this arduous task out of love for you.