|Memorial of St. Dominic,
14-15, 16, 21
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after
me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew
I love today’s gospel – and I want to run when I hear it. It’s brief,
only six sentences long, but for me it is among the most powerful – and frightening
– gospel of all.
Come on, Jesus. Not this gospel. Don't push us like this. Tell
us a story, a nice parable. Give us something that fits into our lives.
Tell us to care for the poor and I can show you how I give away my old things
or send money off to a good charity.
Tell us about the good shepherd who will take care of us and hold us close.
Talk to us about trusting in you and the next time I’m in trouble, I promise
Show us a miracle and let us be awed by your power. Make someone well.
Turn water into wine. Do some magic, ok? Let me stand back on
the sidelines and applaud your loving.
But he doesn’t “do magic.” And he doesn’t let me stand on the sidelines
watching him. Instead he smiles at me with incredible love, looking
deeply into my heart, understanding my fear, and beckoning me to help him.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Lose my life? I can’t. Really, I just can’t. You know my fears
and how they paralyze me. You know my weaknesses. There are so
many of them. I’m really not the one to help you. I’m just not
And then it comes. The line that once changed my heart and en-couraged
me, gave me the courage, to change my life: “What profit would there
be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his very self?”
It’s the line that makes me stop my constant running, working, list-making,
errand-running, thinking, planning, scheming, buying, collecting. What
does all of my busy-ness really mean in my life? Nothing. Nothing
if there is no center to my life and that center has to be Jesus.
Why do I work so hard to 'gain the world' when I let my relationship with
Jesus drift? Why do I lack the courage to listen to his call and to
follow him? Why do I fear losing the approval of others in making the
Dear Jesus, you call me to slow down, to stop the frantic pace of my life.
It is only when I slow down and savor the silence and your presence that I
can really feel it. My heart begins to burn and my soul to calm down.
I am filled with peace as I feel how deeply I long to follow you more
nearly. Help me, Lord. Give me the courage to follow you, to work with
you, to serve you.