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Thursday, July 25, 2002

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St. James

2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Psalm 126
Matthew 20:20-28

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the continual, constant cross

"Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus." —2 Corinthians 4:10

Although James and John wanted prosperity and success, Jesus wanted them to take up the cross (see Mt 20:22ff). Jesus invites us not only to suffer in the pattern of His death (Phil 3:10) but even to be crucified with Him (see Gal 2:19). Furthermore, He calls us to make the cross not only an occasional moment in our lives but to "continually...carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus" (2 Cor 4:10), to  "constantly"  be "delivered to death for Jesus' sake" (2 Cor 4:11). We are tempted to make our crosses as rare as possible. But Jesus wants our crosses to be constant.

When we not only take up the daily cross (Lk 9:23) but also continually and constantly live the cross, we paradoxically reveal "in our bodies the life of Jesus" (2 Cor 4:10). As a grain of wheat which falls to the earth and dies, we bear much fruit (Jn 12:24). We also find joy as we share Christ's sufferings (Col 1:24; 1 Pt 4:13). In joyful fruitfulness, continually and constantly live the cross.

Prayer:  "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world" (St. Francis of Assisi).

Promise:  "Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all." —Mt 20:26-27

Praise:  St. James ran from the crucifixion, but after He received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he gave his life in martyrdom for Christ.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Crucified to the World on audio AV 40A-3 or video V-40A.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 2001