And all were astonished by the majesty of God. While they were all amazed at his every deed, he said to his disciples, "Pay attention to what I am telling you." But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. (Luke 9: 43-45)
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know how easily I make promises in times of consolation and comfort and how readily I withdraw and lose faith in the face of the cross. Give me a faith, hope and love strong enough to weather any cross and embrace any task for your sake.
Petition: Lord may my faith and trust in you not be shaken when I am faced with suffering and cross in my life.
1. “And all were astonished by the majesty of God.” Jesus had just released a boy from a demon that was throwing him into convulsions and causing him to foam at the mouth. This should sound the alarm for all that the spiritual battle demands a rigorous response of prayer and sacrifice and great trust in Christ, who alone can give us the grace to conquer the devil, the world and the flesh. “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and the by the word of their testimony…” (Rev 12:10-11).
2. “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men…” The people who surrounded him were fascinated when Jesus cast out the demon. Still, his ensuing words were too much to swallow, mere folly to their minds. But “has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor 1:20-25).
3. “But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them…” They did not understand the saying because they were not yet willing to bear his cross:
“Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection. Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus -- love that is flee from all self-interest and self-love!” (Imitation of Christ, Bk. II Ch.11)
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, make me love you for who you are and inspite of the cross this implies for me. May I love you in good times and bad, without counting the cost.
Resolution: Seek the cross in fulfilling my duty today, out of passionate love for Christ.