Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, June 19, 2016

"Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." -- Luke 9:24

“Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” — Luke 9:24

 

June 19, Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle C. Readings:

      1) Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1

      Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9

      2) Galatians 3:26-29

      Gospel: Luke 9:18-24

 

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ disciples acknowledge him as “the Christ of God,” the promised Messiah who will save the world.

He proceeds to tell them how this will happen: through his suffering, death and resurrection. Then he adds that whoever “wishes to come after me” would have to give up his former way of life and take on Jesus’ way, including the suffering that goes along with it.

No doubt if there had been a Galilean word for “yikes!” the disciples would have uttered it at that point. It’s one thing to know and accept who Jesus is. The harder part comes in facing what that means in one’s relationship with him and in choosing to spend one’s life following him.

As a catechist, I often sensed this struggle in teenagers preparing for confirmation. The young people came with a wide range of faith formation prior to entering the program. Some had attended parish formation classes since they were in kindergarten; others had received rigorous religious education in Catholic school; and still others had only minimal catechesis since receiving their first Communion as second-graders.

Each year, as the class progressed, I saw nearly all of the young people grow to an understanding and acceptance of who Jesus is. But not all seemed certain about their desire to be confirmed in the church.

Interestingly, the individuals most conflicted were those who had a personal, spiritual relationship with Jesus. Invariably, as the day for the sacrament approached, those young people would tell me, “I don’t think I’m ready.”

They didn’t take this step lightly. For them, coming into full participation in the church was a serious moment of truth. It meant making the decision to actively follow Jesus as a disciple with all the complications that entails.

Most of these conscientious ones chose to be confirmed. But a few decided to wait until they felt sure they could hold up their end of the bargain.

I’ve never worried for their souls. It was obvious they had a deep faith in Jesus as their guide and savior. Besides, the fact that they were stressing over whether they could serve him well enough revealed they already had taken up their crosses.

QUESTION:

What makes the difference for you between knowing who Jesus is and taking up your cross to follow him?

One Response

  1. I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church in 1964 at age 21, through the Newman Center of the college in Vermont I graduated from that year, with a B.A. in physics. Receiving that Sacrament mattered to my life, including later on taking up the Cross that Jesus gave me rather than the cross that I wanted to bear. Through subsequent trials and suffering I also learned to be the one that God the Father had created me to be, rather than be the one that I had wanted to be. So in that sense, I lost my life in order to take up the life that Jesus offers, which indeed does come around to knowing Him as our loving Savior and Lord. At age 74, through a spiritual autobiography I just finished writing, I have just looked back over my life with Him, reflecting on what I saw. What I have seen gives me confidence that the young ones today who are discerning whether to be confirmed, too, need only leave the matter in Jesus’s hands after saying yes to Him, as He knows only too well how frail and fragile we can be with honoring our commitments, and thus provides us with the means to continue on, to move forward, with Him in the lead, to the very end, as his humble servant. Thank you. Respectfully yours.

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