Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bear the Cross and Gain Your Life

To some people being Christian is an easy option.  Having children baptised into the church, one can easily get into Catholic Schools for a better education.  Going to church whenever it pleases them, feeling good and making others feel good are the kind of commitments some people consider as Christian identity.  But for Mary it was different.

Mary is a high achiever, practicing corporate law.  She is also beautiful looking and many young men liked to court her.  But she decided to join a convent and spent the rest of her life for evangelisation.  Her friends, hearing of her decision said, she got to be mad to throw away such a successful life and become a recluse.  But Mary’s decision to give up fame, money, and the prospect of a great husband and a family of her own, was a sacrifice God will reward.  That is the only thing Mary wanted in her life.  This is one the scenarios of sacrifice.

When Jesus told Peter that he is a rock and he is to be the foundation of the Church, it must have been very flattering.  But when Jesus said he is on his way to Jerusalem for a self-sacrifice, the disciples found it very difficult to accept.  Peter objected to Jesus’ sacrifice.  Jesus harshly rebuked Peter for it.  Doing the will of the Father in heaven is the best thing you could do as a follower of Jesus.  That involves sacrificing our own personal interests.  Without the Cross there is no glory of the resurrection.  The question is, ‘Are you prepared to carry the Cross with Jesus?

Last Thursday was the memorial of Saint Monica.  Married to a domineering and adulterous Patricius at an early age, Monica was in a marriage that was hostile to her Christian faith.  Most people might advise women in such a situation to walk away from their marriage.  But unlike people of our generation, Monica was not infected by the “I” trouble.  Therefore, instead of running away from the troubled marriage, she decided to bear the cross and lead a faith filled life of prayer and love for the family.  The result was amazing.  She who our generation might say, ‘did not have a life’, is credited with wonderful achievements in life.   She is remembered as a saint.   And she made her son Augustine also to be a saint and teacher of the Church.  Whereas Monica’s husband, who thought was living a great life is nobody.  “For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25). 

Why people like Mary took a drastic step in her life, we may not be required to be that radical in our approach.  But there are enough challenges in our own lives to opt for the will of the Father in Heaven against the selfish motives of our human mind.  While the Church’s teaching on the Confidentiality of Confession, Sacrament of Marriage as heterosexual commitment, and assisted killing (Euthanasia) are challenged in our times, as Christians we are called to show courage and stand up for the will of Our Father in Heaven.  Jesus demands that his disciples be willing to bear such crosses for the sake of the Kingdom of God.