In the book The Ragamuffin Gospel,
The problem is, our daily experiences fly in the face of this idea. Some say it’s simply because we don’t have enough faith. If we only said and did the right things, we could have, as one televangelist suggests, our “Best Life Now.”
In today’s gospel, we find ourselves arriving seemingly in the midst of an already unfolding drama. Today we are at the turning point of
I said the most natural thing there was to say.
Well, my feelings were so hurt by
I grabbed his wrist and shouted, “No!” …”No, God won’t allow it!” I cried.
…I blustered on. Surely he knew that I was arguing out of love for him! “O Lord,” I said, “this can never happen to you!” (Wangerin, The Book of God).
Those things happen to losers, not winners, especially not messiahs! Will the last 3 years be for nothing?
We are called to choose between 2 options: allow the Cross to shape our lives and our way of thinking, or continue to rationalize that God’s greatest desire for all His children is that they be free from all suffering. As
The… [Christian] life called for is not a reflection of, let alone the …blessing of [our] egocentric culture, but its polar opposite. Self-denial is not part of our culture’s image of the ‘good life’…Just as [our] call to discipleship is not a joining in the cultural infatuation with self-esteem, neither is it the opposite… Just giving up things will not make one Christian [even if it is Lent!]; it will only make one empty. What is difficult for our culture to understand, indeed what it cannot understand … is an orientation to…life that is not focused on self at all…” (New Interpreters Bible, p. 352).
The cross was an instrument of torture that led to a painful death. It was also a sign of ridicule as the criminal was forced to carry it through the town while people laughed and hurled insults at the condemned. It was a public display of guilt.
The cross life is a strange and foreign place. This part of the passage is full of opposites: if we SAVE our lives, we LOSE them, if we LOSE our lives, we SAVE them, if we GAIN the world, we FORFEIT our lives, and ultimately SHAME versus GLORY. There’s no resurrection without the cross. Allowing the reign of God to break into our lives and world, even in the small things is countercultural and hard.
Obedience in walking this way though isn’t simply a matter of our own efforts. God does in us what we cannot do in ourselves. In today’s lesson from Romans, I am struck by the passage, “…the God in whom [
As we are made God’s in baptism and nourished at the table, LET US PRAY:
O God, in your love you have given the people of this land gifts of
abundance beyond what our forebears knew or could imagine. Mercifully grant that we may not be so occupied with material things that we forget spiritual gifts, and thus, even though we have gained the whole world, lose our souls; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.