Friday 17 February 2023 – Three conditions from Jesus

6th Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Gen 11:1-9

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While the people were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.” They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower that they had built. Then the Lord said: “If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.  Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says.” Thus the Lord scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city.  That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

Gospel: Mk 8:34—9:1

Jesus 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.  What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”  He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

Three conditions from Jesus: (1) Deny yourself (2) Take up your cross. (3) Follow Me. Jesus was clear and straight in his demands. This was so even when some left Him after he declared that he was the Bread of Life (John 6). He did not bulge. Indeed he is a true leader. Denying oneself means removing from our lives all our agenda and enthroning Christ’s agenda. Taking up one’s cross is the Christian ability to offer oneself for the sake of others and accepting the discomforts, pains and sufferings that come with following Jesus. Do not carry the crosses of others, take only yours. Cross can be sickness, persecutions, poverty, joblessnes and many others. When we unite our cross with that of Jesus, it becomes salvific. Remember God sends heavy crosses to those He loves more. Let us listen and obey God’s Word, the teachings of the Church and the Sacraments. Let us embrace the Gospel and the Cross.

PRAYER: May we be people of faith and choose our cross wisely in following Jesus. Amen.


Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me: Leaders normally offer to their followers sweet promises, only to end up granting them heavy demands. Jesus on his part demands self-denial and taking up of one’s cross as the necessary condition for becoming his follower. True faith in God consists not in believing in the existence of one God, which even the demons do, but in totally surrendering oneself to God. This is a total trust in God and as a consequence, entrusting oneself as , as clay is in the hands of God the potter. It is only then that God shall mould us as he wants. This is however, not an escape from one’s responsibility. It is rather a call to intensively cooperate with God seeking his will in all things and trying our best to realize it. What else is more satisfying and self-realizing for a true believer in God!

Prayer: O Lord, help me to find my fulfillment in emptying myself and in being filled by you.


BE RESPONSIBLE OF YOUR EXPERIENCES: Whether we consciously recognize it or not, we are always responsible for our experiences. I am the architect of my fortune and what becomes of me in life is mainly contributed to by the life philosophy that I profess. Jesus has an offer, “Lose your life in order to save it”, in other words, “Stoop to conquer; step back in order to advance”. There is a significant yet subtle relationship between the world, its values, and the way we think. Nothing in life is genuinely achieved without lots of hard work. Time and energies well-spent are major resources to success. What are my life priorities? On what do I spend my time and energies? Will I in the end say that I was too busy climbing the ladder of success only to realize that the ladder was placed along the wrong wall and building? Since life is always about choices, what are my choices? What are my values? May I, in the end, with courage say like St Paul, “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Phil 1:21).