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"The Son of Man...must first endure many sufferings, be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and then be raised up on the third day." —Luke 9:22
Jesus describes a journey through the swamps of sufferings, the cliffs of rejection, the valley of death, to the tomb of resurrection. Then He asks who would be willing to follow Him on that journey. Whoever wishes to becomes His follower "must deny his very self, take up his cross each day," and follow in Jesus' steps (Lk 9:23).
Our inner self is repelled by sufferings, rejection, and death. We must deny that self to go on that trip (Lk 9:23). In fact, Jesus gives us the liberty to turn back at any time. Therefore, we must choose each day to make the trip and take up the cross (Lk 9:23). Paradoxically, if we go on this journey which includes death, we live forever, for death is not the final stop. But if we try to save our lives by refusing to go, we die anyway. Then death, even damnation, is the final stop. So we lose our lives by trying to save them (Lk 9:24). Even if we gain the whole world instead of following Jesus on His trip, our lives are wasted and self-destructive (Lk 9:25). To go on Jesus' journey, the way of the cross, is all that matters.
Prayer: Jesus, may I want to travel with You more than I want to feel good.
Promise: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him." —Dt 30:19-20
Praise: St. Scholastica served her Lord and His Church by serving her religious community.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004