Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reflection #1: Sunday

Twenty-Fourth Sunday of the Year
17 September 2006

Mark 8: 27-35

In the Gospel for this Sunday we encounter head-on the essence of what Jesus is all about, and what we are called to be as Christians. God is our heavenly Father, who freely gives even His only Son out of love for the world. Jesus is the obedient Son, who freely sacrifices His life on the Cross for the salvation of the whole world. We, who are created in the image of God, and who profess the name Christian, are called to accept our own crosses, to lay down our own lives, and to deny ourselves for the sake of Christ, whom we serve.
In the First Reading today, we hear of the words of Isaiah, which look forward to the sufferings of Christ, and also describe the trials endured by faithful prophets and servants of the Lord: the beatings, the buffets, and the spitting. And Isaiah says, “I did not turn back;” “My face I did not hide.” Jesus endured ridicule, scourging, the crown of thorns, and the horror of the Cross, without complaint.
So many times, fidelity to Jesus and our Catholic faith, means laying down our lives for Christ. While for us in the modern world it does not mean actual crucifixion or even physical death, the buffeting comes in different ways. While the effects can be emotional rather than physical, they are often no less painful.
As we strive to follow Jesus, to maintain fidelity to the truth of the Gospel, we often find ourselves in an unpopular position in the world today. If we are living our faith well, we find that many do not appreciate what we believe, criticize us, even attack us. The buffets come in different forms in every age but they are still there. Similarly, the need for self-denial on the part of each one of us who belongs to Christ remains essential to our Catholic Christian way of life.
Denying ourselves – in today’s world – means being willing to be unpopular, willing to set aside our own need for fame, glory, and success, willing to sacrifice our own good name, and our own needs and desires, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.
The hard truth of the Gospel, which Jesus came to bring, is not always easy to bear. Yet, the suffering of the Cross ended, not in death, but in the glory of the Resurrection. So it is for us: the struggles we endure in remaining faithful to Christ will not go unrewarded.
If we stand up for the truth, we will find ourselves in the midst of trials. If we remain faithful to Christ, we will also find ourselves in the midst of good company, both the many holy men and women who now serve the Church, and, we pray, one day among those whose service has brought them everlasting reward.

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