You are the Christ” Reflection for 12 Sunday in Ordinary Time
On one occasion Christ put a question to the Apostles concerning his true identity.The only one that gave the correct answer was St.Peter,but while he spoke the right words his understanding lacked depth.When the crunch came at Calvary Peter turned his back and denied any association with Christ.
Like Peter it is easy to say ‘You are the Christ’ but the real answer depends on our readiness as Christians to follow Him in our daily lives.This involves taking up our cross,embracing suffering and often going against the tide of public opinion.
Suffering and the cross present us with a problem because they go against the grain of life.We all desire ease,comfort and even luxury at times but we find the cross everywhere in life. We don’t have to go searching for the cross – it’s in Parenthood, Unemployment,in the loss of life’s partner, it’s in the death of a child,in the distress of a family conflict, in unexpected illness.While accepting that the cross and suffering are a great mystery,as Christians,we willingly offer up our daily sufferings with those of Christ .By some strange paradox the Lord can take our crosses and turn them to redemptive use.
To be a follower of mine Christ said ‘You must renounce yourself and take up your cross'; but what does to renounce yourself mean? Self-denial is not a popular idea but its practice can enable us to find our true self in order to live happy and fulfilled lives.
In asking us to renounce ourselves Christ was recognising that for weak human nature our first instinct is a vibrant selfishness – getting things for ourselves.To prevent this instinct destroying us Christ challenged the first Disciples and he challenges us,his followers today,to be of service to others and to workfor justice and equality for all.
We deny ourselves and take up our cross daily when we try to lead a good life,when we try to look after our families to the best of our ability. By accepting our humanity with all its limitations and by putting our trust in the Lord’s help we can look forward with confidence to that new life which St. Paul says :
‘NO EYE HAS SEEN AND NO EAR HAS HEARD
WHAT GREAT THINGS GOD HAS PREPARED
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM’