DAILY MASS, GOSPEL AND COMMENTARY: “WHAT PROFIT WOULD THERE BE FOR ONE TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND FORFEIT HIS LIFE”
Gospel of Friday, 18th week in Ordinary Time, Year A (Mt 16:24–28)
Jesus said to his disciples, “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 will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission)
- 24 “Divine love, ‘poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’ (Rom 5:5), enables lay people to express concretely in their lives the spirit of the Beatitudes.
- Following Jesus in his poverty, they feel no depression in want, no pride in plenty; imitating the humble Christ, they are not greedy for vain show (cf. Gal 5:26). They strive instead to please God rather than men, always ready to abandon everything for Christ (cf. Lk 14:26) and even to endure persecution in the cause of right (cf. Mt 5:10), having in mind the Lord’s saying: ‘If any man wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Vatican II, Apostolicam actuositatem, 4).
- 25 A Christian cannot ignore these words of Jesus. He has to risk, to gamble, this present life in order to attain eternal life: “How little a life is to offer to God! (St. Josemaria, The Way, 420).
- Our Lord’s requirement means that we must renounce our own will in order to identify with the will of God to ensure that, as St John of the Cross comments, we do not follow the way of those many people who “would have God will that which they themselves will, and are fretful at having to will that which He wills, and find it repugnant to accommodate their will to that of God. Hence it happens to them that oftentimes they think that that wherein they find not their own will and pleasure is not the will of God; and that, on the other hand, when they themselves find satisfaction, God is satisfied. Thus they measure God by themselves and not themselves by God” (St John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, book 1, chap. 7, 3).
- 26-27 Christ’s words are crystal-clear: every person has to bear in mind the Last Judgment. Salvation, in other words, is something radically personal: “he will repay every man for what he has done” (v.27).
- Man’s goal does not consist in accumulating worldly goods; these are only means to an end; man’s last end, his ultimate goal, is God himself; he possesses God in advance, as it were, here on earth by means of grace, and possesses him fully and for ever in heaven.
- Jesus shows the route to take to reach this destination — denying oneself (that is, saying no to ease, comfort, selfishness and attachment to temporal goods) and taking up the cross. For no earthly — impermanent — good can compare with the soul’s eternal salvation.
- As St Thomas expresses it with theological precision, “the least good of grace is superior to the natural good of the entire universe’’ (Summa theologiae, I-Il, q. 113, a. 9).
- 28 Here Jesus is referring not to his last coming (which he speaks about in the preceding verse) but to other events which will occur prior to that and which will be a sign of his glorification after death.
- The coming he speaks of here may refer firstly to his Resurrection and his appearances thereafter; it could also refer to his Transfiguration, which is itself a manifestation of his glory. This coming of Christ in his Kingdom might also be seen in the destruction of Jerusalem — a sign of the end of the ancient people of Israel as a form of the Kingdom of God and its substitution by the Church, the new Kingdom.
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: What is the purpose of adversity in your life?
AUG. 7, 2020: HOLY MASS