Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Being Worthy of Me

Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet´s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple--truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord I seek the grace to act with a heart free of selfishness. Grant me the fortitude to seek out a more perfect death to myself. In this prayer, ennoble my heart to accept all you ask of me. Help me to leave behind all other desires. 

Petition: Lord grant me a heart that is truly worthy of your presence.

1. Those Who Find Their Life Will Lose It, and Those Who Lose Their Life for My Sake Will Find It. The choice Christ offers is clear and stark. There is no middle ground. It is life or death for me. Moses was just as clear to the Israelites: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them" (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). Life with Christ demands a total surrender that is not nuanced with conditions, human calculations or personal preferences. There are many who have determined that they are giving enough to God, but are still empty of him. They give, but they are not given. They only cheat themselves of a living experience of Christ and a love for his kingdom that would fill their heart and strengthen their spirit. I must labor to never let my decision for Christ decay into self-serving postures. 

2. “…Is Not Worthy of Me.” Just as the High Priest of the Old Covenant could only enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple with the blood of sacrifice sprinkled before him, I am worthy to enter the divine presence only with sacrifice: Christ’s. When the soldier withdraws his lance from Christ’s side, the deflated heart of Our Lord teaches a lesson that the world has never seen: the heart of a Christian is preserved by giving itself away; it is expanded when it has been completely emptied. The unstoppable fire of Christ’s charity breaks forth from his wounded heart. Christ wants to enter into my heart, yet nothing makes us more worthy of him than our conscious effort to accept pains and sufferings for love of him. Self-denial, detachment, taking the harder path… these will not destroy us; they will vivify us. 

3. “Whoever Receives You, Receives Me.” Just as our choice to accept Christ’s Cross means life for us, so too will be our choice to receive those he sends us to preach, teach, heal and guide. Just as Christ humiliates himself on the Cross to reach our weaknesses, so too does he humble himself to communicate his presence to us through weak men. Listening to his Church, guided by his Vicar and the bishops in communion with him, will be life for our souls because Christ will not fail to reach us through them. 

Dialogue with Christ: Lord I know that my disordered passions and weaknesses lead me away from you. Help me to re-order my life. With your Sacred Heart as my light, I know I need not fear the loss of anything on this earth as long as I have preserved you in my life and mission.

Resolution: I will offer a special sacrifice in an area where I am often too indulgent.

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