THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle A/Year I (July 2, 2017)
2 Kgs 4:8-11/Rom 6:3-4, 8-11/Mt 10:37-42
Following Jesus Christ is not an easy task. It demands a lot of sacrifices. The gospel tells us that we have to sacrifice our love for our loved ones to prioritize our love for God and, we must take up our cross in order to become worthy to follow Christ. Moreover, we have to lose our life for the love of Christ.
Jesus demands that we must love God more than we love our parents, children, siblings, relatives and friends. This is in accordance with His teaching on the greatest commandment: Love God with all your heart, with your entire mind and with all your being. Jesus wants that He must be the number one, our top priority in our heart, mind and life. This means that, without neglecting our obligations to our loved ones, we must prioritize our obligations to the Lord and to our church. We have to remember that Jesus Christ founded our Church as a means of our salvation. Consequently, we cannot ignore the absolute importance of the Church. We must be faithful to the teachings of the Church which simply echoes the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.
Jesus also demands that we take up our cross and follow Him. Jesus took up His cross and carried it towards Calvary where He was crucified to death. When we take up our cross, we follow Him towards our own crucifixion and death. Indeed, we have to die to our selfishness and sinfulness in order to have a new life. Taking up our cross means fulfilling our obligations towards our loved ones and to God. It means being faithful to the teachings of Jesus and of His Catholic Church. It also means sacrificing all the things that, even though we like to do, are not in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. Being faithful to Jesus will essentially lead us towards our own crucifixion and death. This brings us to the third demand of Jesus.
Lastly, Jesus demands that we have to lose our life for the sake of our love for Him. We are all free because we have been created in the image and likeness of God. Our freedom makes us capable to choosing and doing what we want. If we simply do what we want, we will certainly fall into sins because we, as human beings, are weak. Our inclinations usually direct us to do the things that our senses crave for. Usually, what our senses desire are materialistic and egocentric that lead us towards immorality and sin. We need to sacrifice our desire and will in order to follow the plan and will of God for us. This is what it means to lose our life for the love of God. Indeed, it is necessary to die to our old life in order for us to gain a new life. This new life that will be given to us in following Christ and being faithful to Him is His very own life, the life of being a child of God. Consequently, dying to our sinfulness and selfishness will transform us into children of God.
Christian discipleship is difficult and full of sacrifices. But it is promising since it will bring us towards salvation and eternal life. We must not worry whether we can do it or not; we have to remember that we do not do it alone. We are with Christ since He calls us to follow Him. When we constantly pray, God will never abandon us but rather will empower us to fulfill our Christian obligations and to live happily as children of God.