Posted by: RAM | February 22, 2012

Thursday (February 23): “Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!

Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

The first stage of contemplation, dear brothers, is constantly to consider what God wants, what is pleasing to him, and what is acceptable in his eyes. We all offend in many things; our strengths cannot match the rectitude of God’s will, being neither one with it nor wholly in accord with it; let us then humble ourselves under the powerful hand of the most high God and be concerned to show ourselves unworthy before His merciful gaze, saying: Heal me, Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved. And again, Lord, have mercy on me; heal my soul because I have sinned against you.  — St Bernard  http://origin.ewtn.com/Devotionals/inspiration_02feb2012.asp#23

First Reading:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Gospel:                  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?”  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/022312.cfm

Video Reflection:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/

Reflection:  Do you know the healing, transforming power of the cross? When Jesus predicted his passion his disciples were dismayed. Rejection and crucifixion meant defeat and condemnation, not victory and freedom. How could Jesus’ self-denial, suffering and death lead to victory and life? Through his obedience to his Father’s will, Jesus reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His death on the cross won pardon for the guilty, freedom for the oppressed, healing for the afflicted, and new life for those condemned to death. His death makes possible our freedom to live as sons and daughters of God. There’s a certain paradox in God’s economy. We lose what we gain, and we gain what we lose. When we try run our life our own way, we end up losing it to futility. Only God can free us from our ignorance and sinful ways. When we surrender our lives to God, he gives us new life in his Spirit and the pledge of eternal life. God wants us to be spiritually fit to serve him at all times. When the body is very weak or ill, we make every effort to nurse it back to health. How much more effort and attention should we give to the spiritual health of our hearts and minds!

What will you give to God in exchange for freedom and eternal life? Are you ready to part with anything that might keep you from following him and his perfect plan for your life? Jesus poses these questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile in life. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person.  It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. A true disciple is ready to give up all that he or she has in exchange for happiness and life with God. The life which God offers is abundant, everlasting life. And the joy which God places in our hearts no sadness or loss can diminish.

The cross of Jesus Christ leads to freedom and victory over sin and death. What is the cross which Christ commands me to take up each day as his disciple? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus’ sake.  What makes such sacrifice possible and “sweet” is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit”(Romans 5:5). We can never outgive God.  He always gives us more than we can expect or imagine. Are you ready to lose all for Christ in order to gain all with Christ?

“Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work. I give you my feet to go your way. I give you my eyes to see as you do. I give you my tongue to speak your words.  I give you my mind that you may think in me. I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.  Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me, your Father, and all mankind. I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.” (Prayer from The Grail)  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb23.htm

Saint of the Day:  St. Polycarp (d. 156)

Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), disciple of St. John the Apostle and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch was a revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century.

St. Ignatius, on his way to Rome to be martyred, visited Polycarp at Smyrna, and later at Troas wrote him a personal letter. The Asia Minor Churches recognized Polycarp’s leadership by choosing him as a representative to discuss with Pope Anicetus the date of the Easter celebration in Rome—a major controversy in the early Church.

Only one of the many letters written by Polycarp has been preserved, the one he wrote to the Church of Philippi in Macedonia.

At 86, Polycarp was led into the crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. The flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger. The centurion ordered the saint’s body burned. The “Acts” of Polycarp’s martyrdom are the earliest preserved, fully reliable account of a Christian martyr’s death. He died in 156.  http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1300

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to see.  Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.



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