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Huge hurricane near Florida in America. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

How aware are you of YOUR taking up the cross invitations? 22nd Sunday Year A

How aware are you of YOUR taking up the cross invitations?  Of those moments when God is giving you the chance to follow him?

It never feels like you are losing your life in those moments, does it?  It never feels like a choice against Jesus or against God or the Holy Spirit.  It is just common sense.  It is just what ‘normal people’ do in a given situation.  It’s just life.

·     It’s Sunday morning.  And the house is quiet.  The kids are all actually sleeping.  It’s so peaceful.  And yet, if I don’t get them up now, we’ll never get to church on time.  But I don’t want to fight that battle today.  It was the homecoming football game last night and the teens were out late.  And they are so crabby when they are tired…  I just don’t want to fight that battle this morning…

·     It’s really not mom’s fault that she doesn’t remember where she left her glasses.  She’s 92.   And she doesn’t remember many things.  But this is now the third pair of glasses that she has somehow lost.  The only thing that makes sense is that mom left them on her bed and they got caught up in the sheets when the nursing home staff went to do the laundry.  They don’t look.  They just bundle up the sheets, glasses and all.  And so you let the minimum wage worker have it.  Because you know they will lose THIS pair of glasses as well.  And glasses are expensive.

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 

·        It’s your dream job, and there is great potential for advancement.  You are just getting started– trying to make a name for yourself in the company.  So what you have to spend those extra hours writing that report, doing that project, being on that conference call that helps you on the corporate ladder.  It’s a little more travel then they told you at the beginning.  The wife will understand.  This is about keeping the roof over our heads.  The kids, well, it’s only a 3rd grade volleyball game I am missing…

·        It’s just Spider solitaire or Candy Crush or Angry Birds or any of a hundred little phone apps that I can use to kill a little time.  Really, I just need a stress break, a way to occupy my mind for a while, to unclutter all the thoughts, so that I can get back to work with gusto and a clean slate. But the five minute mental break becomes 45 as you try to get past this level, solve this puzzle, clear this next line in the game.  Where did the time go…

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 

·        I know it is a 1000 year rain event in Texas.  The pictures of the devastation are incredible.  Sure, I’ll contribute $50 bucks.  That’s not nothing after all.  But Cor Jesu’s second tuition payment is due. And DeSmet’s is next week. And we really need that new knife set for the kitchen.  Really, $50 is a generous gift at this time.

·        Simon Peter thought he was doing a good thing, speaking up against this whole “taking up your cross thing.”  “God forbid that such a thing happen to YOU, my Lord.”  There is no way that anything close to that could be the will of God.  Maybe we will just stay away from Jerusalem in our preaching and mission.

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 

In ways that are subtle and small, we slowly lose the only freedom, the only life that matters.  The one that comes from losing our lives for Jesus’ sake.

This week, ask for the gift Jeremiah knew – that fire burning in your heart, imprisoned in your bones;the one where you physically “grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it”.  In all those little moments ask for the grace to KNOW it is a taking up of your cross moment – a chance to say to the Lord, to your family, to yourself – I will embrace this cross, this suffering, this chance to say to the Lord – I will lose everything for your sake..

For indeed, What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 


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