Sunday, August 30m 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
On the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, let’s be honest. Who said that being a Catholic Christian in today’s world was going to be easy? There are several celebrities, politicians, and political and social commentators who totally reject the Christian Message and especially the Catholic Church. There are those who want to shape and mold Catholic morality and the message of Jesus Christ to fit their world view.
In recent days we have seen churches burned (including San Gabriel Mission), statues toppled and destroyed, venerable saints maligned, and the teaching of the Catholic Church utterly rejected by those who want to fundamentally transform our belief and value system to fit their warped view of a perfect world.
The Gospel message of dying to self and living for Christ and others is challenging. It must be our life’s work. Ultimately, it is the only work that truly matters and the only life that really satisfies. This Sunday’s Gospel passage gets anyone’s attention who wants to be Jesus’ disciple: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” This may sound harsh. Why would any of us want to do this? Of course, our Lord has the answer for us. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
It’s all about love. Jesus loved (and loves) us totally, giving us all of Himself on the Cross, in His Word, and in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. And so, we must choose either love of self, leading to death, or love of God and others, which in the end will be difficult but fulfilling and leads to the eternal reward of heaven. Jesus promises that He “will come with his angels in his Father’s glory and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
Let us not run from life’s tough choices resulting in loss of our life because of worldly desires. Instead let us find our life for Christ’s sake in our grateful response to His love. Honestly, what better life could there be?