August 7, 2020
by Angela Maynard
Creighton University's Student Health Education and Compliance Office
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 411

Naham 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7
Deuteronomy 32:35cd-36ab, 39abcd, 41
Matthew 16:24-28
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Praying in Times of Crisis

As I began to reflect on today’s gospel, I went back to learn about what crucifixion was all about.  This really forced me to consider the passion and death of Jesus.  I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about this during the Lenten season that occurs in the forty days before Easter Sunday.  For some reason, I was more troubled as I reflected this time.

The Romans used crucifixion to humiliate anybody who dared to rebel against their agenda.  Those sentenced to this form of punishment endured a most painful death—hanging naked on three nails for ‘however long it took’. Some sources estimate that one may hang on the cross from 6-30 hours. Bleeding to death was the cause of death. Certainly horrific to say the least!

In today’s gospel, Jesus challenges his disciples:

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,take up his cross, and follow me.”

In order to follow Jesus, one must first deny oneself, then take up the cross and follow.  So, now that we are familiar with the gravity of dying by the cross, consider the act of denying oneself and following one who was less than popular. To me, this is the ultimate act of humility.  Humility is defined as freedom from pride or arrogancethe quality or state of being humble.

We are living in a very troubled world and as I reflected on today’s reading I’ve concluded that lack of humility is a root cause of many troubles. 

For example, who determines that a group of people are less than?  Who decides that one cause or agenda is paramount, even though harm to others may result?

For today:

Take some time to reflect on what it actually means to die by the cross.  Jesus did this to save us!
Consider the position the disciples were in if they continued to follow Christ.
How does pride or arrogance stand in the way of my relationships?
How does pride impact the decisions I make?  Personally, professionally, and as a community member?

“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
--Saint Vincent de Paul

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