Sharing in the Passion, and Life of Christ is Our Mission !

“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.” ( Mark 8:27)
Peace be with you !
Today I want to talk with you about the immense beauty of our daily mission, our failures and our ultimate triumph.

This was last weeks Gospel reading and I know this will resonate with each of you.
In this reading Christ reveals solidifies the apostles knowledge that He is the Son of God.
In the process of His efforts to teach them he reveals that he will endure His passion. Suffering, death and resurrection are
what await Him moving forward. Peter does not want this for Jesus. He loved Jesus dearly and like anyone we love, we want them
around forever, or at least as long as possible.

Jesus moves forward and then taking this explanation further, tells the disciples, whoever wants to follow Him, must deny
themselves, pick up their cross and follow in his footsteps.

Consider this for a moment. He (Jesus) is going to suffer and die, and now He wants them to do it too. This probably did not
sound so appealing to many of them. He then pushes the point further and says that if you try to save your life, you will loose
it ( i.e. your going to die anyway) and whoever looses their life for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel will save their lives ( but
you still have to die anyway).
In the world today we are right in the middle of some of the greatest times of spiritual warfare present in our lifetime.
Notice that I did not say in history. For these battles are old. We as disciples have fought these battles before and we have
been victorious.

Look at what is going on in the world today. All of the Pro-Life issues we face. We have Abortion, Euthenasia, Abuse, HUman
Trafficing, discrimination, and poverty to name a few. Then there is the issue of Same-sex Attraction and civil unions.
There is the persecution world wide of the Christian church as a whole.

Sin abounds at every corner, and of every variety known to history. Its not a different fight, it is exactly the same. This
whole battle and the pressures involved in fighting the battles can be overwhelming at times. And these are the battles from
outside our own souls. Then there are the battles from within, fighting off the temptations of our own fallen natures while
trying to keep focus on the mission we have laying before us.

Our fight in this life, is two fold. The battle we carry on for our efforts to continually dying to self is hard work. Everone
has this cross to bear. The fun part of that battle is that we fail, and we fail alot. To make matters more fun, the more that
we learn, the more aware we are of the sin present in the world, the more we are aware of our own failings !

Some people will tell you not to pray for patience, because God will give you the opportunity to work on your patience.
Do it anyway ! If you are given the oppoortunity to work on your patience, you are probably ( like me) in need of work in that
department.

When going into battle, you don’t go without weapons, or armor. You need to put on the armor of God. Your best weapon is prayer.
Your best tool is education. LEARN YOUR FAITH ! Ask the hard questions and go get the answers. The RIGHT answers not what makes
you comfortable. Work on your faith life. Take the time necessary to know the answers to the hard questions, that others will
have for you. As yourself, WHY do I believe what I believe ? Why do we do ( this or that ) ? What does THAT mean ?
If you cant answer these questions for yourself, then you can answer them for others.

Scripture and Sacred Tradition, are like the two covers of a book, and your life and faith are the pages in between. Fill your
book with the knowledge and love of God.

My Dad used to say.. ” What ever it is that you are…be the best of that thing, that you can be”.

Jesus says at the end of the Gospel, ” “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.” This is the challenge. Denying ourselves. Self denial comes in many forms. The denial of
allowing ourselves to give in to anger, to lust or greed, and instead to show the face of Christ to do our very best to live the
law of love. We deny some pleasure, at the gift of service in some work of mercy. visting the sick, or imprisoned.
We deny ourselves in our offerings to others, for the sake of Christ.

We deny our own fallen natures, and instead offer our lives, our time talent and treasure, for the Kingdom of Heaven..

We pick up the cross we have been given. If its caring for someone, if its in the way we do our days labor, if its in a
relationship ( a healthy one), if our cross is something our human intellect would rather us not do, but we know in our heart and
soul that picking up that particular cross is what would be pleasing to God, and we do it for the sake of Christ, then that is the
cross we must pick up.

In our world today, we have Christians persecuted and killed for their faith. Their cross is our cross. The battle we must fight
while we are here, is carried out under the banner of Our Lord, with a heart of Love. This because Love is the greatest
commandment.

In the end Jesus tells us : “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.”

This is where the rubber meets the road. In the end, we give up our very lives. Everyone will die at some point. This is a part
of Natural Law. The question becomes will you have lived your life giving it up in the service of God, living for Him ? Will you
take up the crosses that are laid bare before you and take that challenge on, for the sake of Our Lord ? If you say ” yes!”,
then you have gained your life and the best part is that you can be a testament for others.

St. Francis said ” Preach at all times, and when necessary use words.” Our actions are the best testament we can give, in our
love of God.

I pray that we all will have the strength of our convictions, through the graces of the Sacraments, to go forward, picking up our
cross and following Our Lord.

Because the Truth, is not a thing, it is a person, and His name is Jesus Christ !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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One Response to “Sharing in the Passion, and Life of Christ is Our Mission !”

  1. Sister Julie Ann Sheahan OSF Says:

    As we begin another celebration of St. Francis, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity invite you to consider adding our website http://fscc-calledtobe.org to you blog roll. On our Franciscanized World blog we are streaming a concert by The Saint Francis Band. May it add joy to your own celebration of the feast of St. Francis.

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