07 Aug Decisions… Decisions… (Mt 16:24-28) by Paul Westendorf
“Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. …..“ ~ Mt 16:24-28 (full readings)
Paul’s Reflections: Jesus poses some probing questions. He challenges our assumptions about what is most important, our priorities, and our faith in Him. If you watch ESPN somewhere along the line there is a good chance you’ve seen an episode/clip called “C’mon Man”. It is a collection of action clips of professionals making some basic mistakes to which the announcers respond “C’mon Man”. It is a kind of a “What were you thinking?” statement. If Jesus were to stand in front of a crowd today and speak those words, I wonder if the overwhelming response would be something along that line? Per the reading I must “Deny myself” but the world says I should do whatever makes me happy. Per the reading I must “Take up my cross”, it’s easier to just go with the flow, fit in, and I’ll have more friends that way. Speaking out against a wrong or gathering with others for peaceful prayer for those impacted by abortion – that’s going to get me labeled as a “hater” or “oppressor of women” or worse, C’mon Jesus. So what’s our answer to others, to our friends, even to ourselves in regard to the struggle with “and follow me”? In the reading Jesus asks “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” If we answer none to that, it gives us an indication that our priorities should not be on the “ways of the world”. What is the cross which Jesus commands us to take up each day? When our will crosses with His will, then His will must be done. Just as Jesus spoke out about wrong, we are called to do so in this culture of death. Jesus also preached and practiced forgiveness. If we follow Him, we must reach out and forgive and be the path for others back to Jesus. “C’mon man, what were you thinking” is not something I want to be hearing on judgment day.
* Paul Westendorf is Membership Director of the National LIFE Runners Team. His is married to Jacquie and lives in Sioux Falls, SD. Full bio..
Faith Challenge: Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ? Join in for prayer for the understanding and strength for us all to carry our crosses.
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Feast Day: St. Cajetan
Faith Quote: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Through Christ our Lord,