The Gospel according to Luke (9:22-25)
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
Reflection: I, like all of us, do not remember life as a baby. We cried when we were hungry, dirty, or tired and our mother, father, or maybe another family member would take care our needs. Fast forward to when we became parents with our infant children, and we became the care providers to our hungry, dirty, and tired little loved ones. Today’s gospel made me think about how parents or others become providers for physical care, but a Catholics, we are much more. We are called to provide our children with the gift of love for God and a dedication and commitment to the faith we are each given. Parents are the elders of our domestic church. And as such, on many occasions are rejected by the very ones we dedicate our lives to.
The presence of the Messiah, after much longing and anticipation, was met with skepticism and an unwillingness to let go of misunderstood expectations. The lure of worldly power overshadowed the true path to salvation and a life that extends far beyond our temporal existence. It is easy to point to the elders and leaders who rejected Jesus as the Son of Man, his mission, and his teachings. However, Holy Scripture offers us an opportunity to reflect on how we, you and I, reject Jesus, His mission, and teachings. Didn’t we just hear this past Sunday how we want to remove the splinter from someone else’s eye while we have a log in our own. Now, at the beginning of this Lenten season, we can take the opportunity to examine the ways we reject God’s invitation to follow His son by picking up our cross. Not once, or once in a while, but every day.
We become followers not to become holy but because we are sinners. We need the healing touch the Sacrifice of Jesus gave us when He surrendered His life so we could look past the distractions of this world and live in the hope of much more.
Rejection is a devastating. Yes, for the giver of the most precious gift of our lives but more so for the one who rejects not just the gift but the gift giver.
Action of the Day: On this second day of lent let us dig deep into those places where we reject Jesus by rejecting those who challenge our faith. Include them or whatever the issues are in our Lenten prayer, fasting and alms giving seeking a new direction allowing the sacrifice of of Jesus to transform us.