Friday, September 14, 2012

For My Sake

For My Sake

September 16, 2012
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time B
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.  Isaiah 50:5-6

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?   Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  James 2:14-17

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."  Mark 8:34-35


Personal Piety answers the question of who we say Christ is.  The Lord God opens our ears that we may hear what he is saying to us.  Our piety is how we say we do not rebel and we have not turned our back on the Lord.  Like the Lord we give our back to those who beat us and we do not try to shield ourselves from those who buffet and spit at us.  We stand up for Christ in who we are and what we do.  Those who oppose our belonging to Christ we are willing to stand before Christ with them.  WE show who we are by our good works and the way we share our lives with the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and imprisoned.  We allow our piety to demonstrate our faith to those who look at us with questioning eyes.  Truly our boast is in how we carry the cross of Christ.  How we bear his wounds in our labors to make a better world shows what we are made up of in the name of the Lord.  Piety is what we do in his name.  We are no longer looking for what the world gives us and we give ourselves in the name of the Lord unreservedly to our world that it be a better place for everyone.


We look at each person who comes into our lives to see how they reflect the mystery of the redemption of Christ in their words and actions.  The redemption of Christ is present in every good person who tries to do good and avoid evil.  Each person who comes into our lives is asking the question of Christ.  We recognize the fullness of the person we are with when we find the deepest meaning of their lives in Christ.  Every friend is a friend in how we recognize the Christ of their hearts.  When a person hides themselves from us because they do not like who they are it is up to us to see beyond appearances and to look deeply into the soul of the other.  There is no bypass of the cross of another if we want to meet the Christ of their hearts.  Love is proved by deeds, not words.


Peter was rebuked by Christ because Peter was trying to save Christ from his destiny and there was no saving Christ from the will of the Father for him.  Christ’s prayer was “not my will, but thy will be done”.  How we discover the will of God for us is seen in the sacrifices we are willing to make for the sake of each other in the name of Christ.  We each have a destiny from God that is discovered in the needs of those around us.  Love in seen by the way we give our lives for each other.  We know that the call of Christ says a mouthful for all of us when he invites us to take up our cross and to follow him.   It means we are not going to make distinctions among ourselves and judge with evil designs.  We treat every person who comes our way in their needs as brothers and sisters of the Lord.   When we take care of their needs, the needs of the poor become the voice of the call of the Lord for help.  Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Then we are thinking as God does.

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