THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY READINGS AND GOSPEL COMMENTARY: “WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE WILL SAVE IT (Lk 9:22-25).” THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY MASS READINGS.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Beátus vir qui pósuit Dóminum spem suam.
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the Lord
and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
Pænitentiam ágite, dicit Dóminus; appropinquávit regnum cælorum.
Repent, says the Lord, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
- The Gospel of today’s Mass reminds us that if we are to follow Christ we have to carry our own Cross. And He said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me‘ (Luke 9:23).
- Our Lord, addressing himself to all men, speaks of the daily Cross. And these words of Jesus retain their fullest value. They are words spoken to all men who want to follow him. There is no such thing as a Christianity without the Cross, designed for soft and pusillanimous Christians with no sense of sacrifice. Our Lord’s words state a condition that is absolutely necessary, a sine qua non. Whoever does not take up his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27). A Christianity from which we tried to remove the cross of voluntary mortification and penance under the pretext that these practices are the remains of the Dark Ages or of an outworn Mediaeval era, quite inappropriate for a modern Humanistic Age, would be an insipid Christianity, a Christianity in name only. It would not have kept intact the doctrine of the Gospels, nor would it serve to induce men to follow in Christ’s footsteps (J. Orlandis, The Eight Beatitudes, Pamplona). It would be a Christianity without Redemption, without Salvation.
- Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. The true disciple of Christ is to carry his cross every day, following him. Lent prepares the Christian to relive the mystery of the cross. Dying to oneself is a requirement to live the life of sanctifying grace. It is to follow the path that leads to eternal life.
- Thus exhorts Saint Leo the Great:
- “It is necessary, dear ones, to adhere inseparably to this mystery [that of the cross of Christ] to make the greatest efforts of the soul and of the body; because, if it is bad to remain oblivious to Easter solemnity, it is even worse to associate with the community of the faithful without having participated before in the sufferings of Christ. The Lord has said: “He who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of Me” (Mt 10:38).
- And Saint Paul adds: ‘if we participate in his sufferings, we will also participate in his Kingdom (Rm 8, 17; 1Tm 2, 12).’ Thus, the best way to honor the passion, death and resurrection of Christ is to suffer, die and resurrect with Him … That is why, when someone realizes that he exceeds the limits of Christian discipline and that his desires go towards what would cause him to deviate from the right path, let him go to the cross of the Lord and nail to His Cross that which leads him to perdition (Sermon 70, 19 of Passion 4).”
Stay safe and healthy. God bless. Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
TOPIC 1: ARE YOU WILLING TO SELL YOUR SOUL TO THE DEVIL FOR WEALTH, POWER AND FAME?
Everyone wants a better life. We work hard, we pray hard. We serve God. When we start to experience success, our human nature can overcome us into going for more. Pride, envy, greed and vanity lead us to do the unethical, rationalizing our actions and turning a blind eye to sin.
TOPIC 2: ARE YOU PREPARED TO ENDURE YOUR AFFLICTIONS?
In today’s readings, we are made to choose between life and death. “Choose life” says Moses; life that springs from a sincere love of God by following His commandments. Life that God offers but is not referring to the world and its temporary pleasures. Is it then life or death? Christ or the creature of pride? Is it heaven or hell? Most, if not all, will choose Christ and heaven, but are not ready to die and meet Christ in heaven because we are not prepared.
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