Sunday 22 A – The Life-giving Cross
That Jesus should say he would suffer and die on a cross was unacceptable to his disciples. To die on a cross was a sentence for the worst crimes of the time. That Jesus should go that way was too much for them to take. Jesus said their thinking was a human way of thinking and not according to God’s plan. He knew and loved God’s mind, and freely chose to die in that way.
If Jesus was the wisest and most inwardly liberated human being to ever arrive on the planet, the source of it all was his trust in God his Father who had his back. God loves us because he loves Jesus. To have the kind of inner freedom of heart and mind that Jesus had means having a radical change of mind about life’s priorities and values.
To be a follower of Christ is costly. The price to be paid is our willingness to let go our hunger for security, success, approval and comfort. We live in a time that says our faith and its practice are foolish. Our cultural scepticism is so deep in our bones that we take for granted the universe revolves around our personal likes and dislikes. Like Peter, we balk before the truth Jesus proposes to his followers. It’s a frontal attack on our assumptions.
Jesus’ sense of freedom made him fearless before the temple authorities and Pilate the ruthless Roman governor. He felt free to give up his young life for the Kingdom. He was not attached to anything or anyone, not even his own life or the success of his mission. His trust in God his Father had no end to it.
How to make his level of freedom mine? How can I learn to let go, to free myself from fears of sickness and suffering and failure and worries about my reputation? The basis of freedom is trust. I freely board a plane because I trust the pilot. We become free as we gradually learn and experience God’s love for us through daily contact with Jesus in reflection and prayer and helping others. “The joy of the gospel fills the minds and hearts of those who encounter Christ” writes Pope Francis.
Fr. QQ – 8/27/2020