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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 20, 2010


Pick Up Your Cross And Follow Me!

 





Reading 1
Zec 12:10-11; 13:1

Thus says the LORD:
I will pour out on the house of David
and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and petition;
and they shall look on him whom they have pierced,
and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son,
and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.

On that day the mourning in Jerusalem shall be as great
as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

On that day there shall be open to the house of David
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.



Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Responsorial Psalm

R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.



Gal 3:26-29
Reading 2

Brothers and sisters:
Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person,
there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ,
then you are Abraham’s descendant,
heirs according to the promise.



Lk 9:18-24
Gospel

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist;
others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them
and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “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.”

 

 



His cross is obvious where people meet, live, or are dead. That’s right. Didn’t Jesus say that if we want to be considered his followers, that we have to take that cross upon our shoulders every day?



Before I can say much to you folks about this, I have to figure it out for myself as well, as far as my own cross is concerned. And quite frankly, I sometimes wonder what that really means. I know what it use to mean to me when I was much younger. I know what I was taught it should mean to me. Every time something bad happened to me, family members, and others that I knew would say that my pain and suffering were a participation in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. No matter it be a toothache, headache, stomach problem, arthritis, back pain, any kind of suffering. But isn’t pain and suffering NOT just limited to our physical bodies? Isn’t our cross often times, or at least sometimes, and for many folks, all of the time, also mental, emotional, and do we consider spiritual? Can depression, or panic disorder, or anxiety disorder, compulsive disorders, any form of mental disorder, also be our cross?



I wrote a book several years ago, and one of the chapters I entitled, “Black Friday,” at that time, was the darkest day in my life as I suffered a mental breakdown. That actually happened in January of 1991. The book is called, “And The Walls Came Tumbling Down.” It was not an easy book to write, and most certainly not easy to read, and actually wasn’t really about me so much as it was about my wife Joyce, who stood by me during the worse year of my life. Talk about a cross, we both had to carry one.

Perhaps pain itself is not our suffering, maybe or rather the limitations that it places on us. Have you ever been told, “Well, that is part of your cross, that is part of your suffering? In this kind of mysticism, some would even go so far as to say, “How happy are you that you are called to suffer, because God sends crosses only to those He loves and trusts!  If that were true, perhaps we might be tempted now and then to shout to God, “Can you please stop loving me so much?” But the reality is my friends is that God does not send us any cross, but rather life itself, this journey we are on, creates the many crosses that we have to carry. God only gives us good things. He does not give us bad things. The bad, the pain, the suffering comes from our own particular experience of life itself, does it not?



When Jesus spoke about his cross in this Gospel reading, the people who listened did not yet know that he would suffer and die on a cross. He knew, we know now, but they didn’t. So, when he was talking to them, he could not have been referring to the cross on which he was going to die. There is another thing. He told his followers that they should carry their cross daily. He most certainly carried more than just that big tree that he carried to Calvary maybe an hour or so, and even helped by that man from an African town called Cyrene, by the name of Simon. Did he not have to endure the mental cross as well, the knowing that he was going to suffer tremendous and die for all our sins? Wasn’t that not what he went through in the Garden on that night when he was praying to His Father?



He must have mostly been speaking about the cross he was carrying at the moment that he spoke, the things he was doing day by day. We know what those activities were. They were his constant struggle against the sin around him in all of its forms. The sin of injustice in the temple services, where some profited from the piety and guilt feelings of the poor and the miserable. The sin of injustice in human relations, as when he defended the adulterous woman against her hypocritical oppressors and told her to sin no more. Name a sin, call out an injustice, and Jesus would be seen struggling against it – not violently, but very powerfully – every day, every hour. Perhaps it was in that way that he made enemies who would eventually nail him on the cross. It was in that way the he carried his cross every day, long before his actual death.



I don’t know all there is to know about pain and suffering – how to carry it daily in our lives as Jesus must have done. I guess that the only way I know to deal with denying myself, ourselves, and picking up our crosses daily, is through acceptance, patience, most certainly prayer, and the hope of a better tomorrow, We can care for each other, embrace each other’s pain, listen to each other’s hurting hearts and souls, be gentle and kind, and most of all, realize that we don’t know the pain of another until we have walked in their shoes, and that is not going to happen.



As much as I might believe that I suffer, that I carry my cross, there are still others who suffer far greater pain, trials, and misfortunes than I. The cross of loneliness, of abandonment, of another’s addiction that affects a whole family, of homelessness, of not having adequate heal care or insurance, loss of a loved one, and so many more. We don’t have to go this journey alone, but rather with each other, and with Jesus who truly knows what it is to deny oneself and pick up their cross. Remember, in anguish while in the Garden, and on the cross, he cried out to his Father. He expects that we will do the same. He not only picked it up his cross and carried it, he was nailed to it, because he decided to give us the ultimate gift of love – his own life – that we might lose our pain in this life for the new eternal life that awaits us at our journeys end.



 Thank you, God bless you, and may you all have a wonderful week ahead.


© Deacon Steve A. Politte
June 18th, 2010
 

 

 

 

“How He Loves Us” by Kim Walker / Jesus Culture Video

 

 

 

~ A Touch Of Love ~


It can take a frown from a face
And replace it with a smile,
It can sooth and give comfort
To a bruised knee of a child.

It can stir the laughter of an infant
With goo goo’s and giggles,
And make you forget about the smell
Of his diaper as he wiggles.

It can lend an listening ear
To a friend who is down and out;
Instill a sense of worth
When self esteem is but a doubt.

It can embrace a broken heart
That has been beaten, torn, and battered.
It can make a simple little thing important
When it really doesn’t seem to matter.

It can brighten up a day
When there is no sunshine to see,
And give comfort to a lonely soul
Whose lost spirit is in special need.

It can cause one to feel some joy
When there seems to be none around,
It can utter sweet kind words
Where only verbal abuse is found.

It can paint a lovely portrait
And put words into a poem,
It can make a great big difference
To someone who is far away from home.

It can show much compassion
When one has lost someone they loved,
And be a shoulder to lean on
Because of the richness it is made of.

It can say a healing prayer
When an illness suddenly comes
And instill much accomplishment
After a long day's work is over and done.

It can put a song into a heart
That never knew one before,
And pave the way to happiness
And it can open many doors.

It can be as simple as a little kiss
Or as meaningful as an embrace
It can be a kindly word spoken
That would light up any face.

It’s a gift that is freely given
From out dear Lord up above.
For it’s a treasure that is cherished,
It’s called “A touch of love.”


© Steve A. Politte
June 12th, 2009




 

 

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