September 12 – ASHAMED OF THE CROSS?

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Gospel: Mk 8: 27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

Ashamed of the Cross? If a person confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, that confession is genuine. This confession means that one is prepared to journey with Christ even in suffering. The first condition to follow Christ is to deny oneself. This means to see oneself as nothing in the face of God’s will. It means the readiness to sacrifice oneself, one’s ambitions for the sake of Christ and of others. Therefore, one must not be ashamed of being a follower of Christ. What would we say of a person who wears a crucifix or a rosary around the neck, should this person remove it when seeking a job in a non-Catholic institution? As Christians we shall suffer for Christ, let us never deviate from following the Good News. That is what Christ means by carrying the cross and following him (Mark 8:34).

PRAYER: Lord help me not to be ashamed of proclaiming you before people.