Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy,
I hope you are fine and doing well.
The words of Jesus in today’s gospel are frightening, terrifying and extreme! He said: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34). Jesus was telling us the bold truth that if we wish to follow him, then we cannot turn away from suffering. We cannot avoid the consequences that come with being his disciples.
In this gospel passage, Jesus was telling his Apostles that he would be subjected to the suffering of being publicly humiliated and crucified, but that he would also experience the resurrection.
Peter, Jesus’ most trusted disciple, was not willing to accept that his Master would be treated in such a shameful way. But Jesus challenged Peter to start thinking on a higher level, to start thinking about these things from God’s perspective.
Brothers and sisters, we too are being called to look at the present difficulties in the Church from a higher perspective, from the perspective of knowing that the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church.
We do not know what may come of the present suffering that we are experiencing in the Church, but we know that no matter what happens, God is our help. If we cling to our faith in God, we can face any trials and difficulties. Let us pick up the cross that is before us and follow after Jesus.
Let us pray for one another. And let us pray for our brothers and sisters in our community, in our nation, and in every nation, who are carrying the crosses that come with life’s challenges and from all forms of disease, war, and natural disasters. May God be with them and provide for their needs through caring and generous people.
Thank you and God bless you all.