30 Jun Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Homilies are never the creative act of one person. Thus, in posting these homilies on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be little original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week. Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it: ‘tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time. If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures and/or the Spiritual Life.
God bless you.
Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
A superficial understanding of this would construe “follow me” as treat me as an admirable model or appropriate my wise ideas or imitate my way of life.
In this section of Matthew’s gospel Jesus is forming his disciples for mission…for evangelization. He is challenging his disciples…and us, to become living images of his own life. We are to “put on” the interior disposition of Jesus. And it doesn’t mean we are trying to do here in this life what we see Jesus doing in his life. By saying follow me Jesus is striving to detach the disciple from every private path, every private project, every private relationship even every private desire in order to bring his followers, us, to participate fully and actively in the only life and destiny that matters – His!
Christian life is not so much me bringing Jesus into my life but Christian life is Jesus opening to me the doors of his life and granting me a share in the acts and intentions of His Heart. It is not me who makes room for Him in my endeavours. He can’t be just one of many other priorities. Rather, it is he who invites me to renounce all my endeavours in order to incorporate me into his human and divine mission and life. He must be THE priority. The unuum necesarrium. The one necessary thing. Our priorities by definition are priorities because they point to Him. St. Paul put it best when in Galatians 2:20 he said: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” and he went on: And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Words inscribed below our beautiful Crucifixion Scene here in the cathedral.
It is only cleared of all other priorities…All that possesses us…Wealth, honour, power, pleasure…can we fully embrace the Cross. Carrying the cross is the work of the disciple. It is more than suffering with resignation whatever sorrows come along. The disciple is to take up his cross and follow Jesus…Two very active words. Our cross: our struggles, our suffering, our faults…even our sins…are our own specific road to holiness…in the spiritual literature throughout the ages there our struggles and sufferings rightly received are referred to as the Kiss from the cross…our road to holiness. There is a sense if I don’t willing participate in my specific cross and ardently cling to it…that no one will…and my place… my specific following of Jesus…will forever remain vacant.
The Lord is plainly saying that the way of the Christian is the Way of the Cross. A Cross which he chooses for us, not one of our own choosing.
My Cross…Your cross…is our allotted share in the work of the world’s redemption. And we can only take up that Cross…when we have a deep life of prayer…which builds our spiritual strength on a rock-solid relationship with the Lord. Only then can we fully Trust Him…no matter where he takes us.