1989 June 25 – 12th Sun Ord Time (Bulletin Letters)
“WHOEVER WISHES TO BE MY FOLLOWER MUST DENY THEIR VERY SELF, TAKE UP THEIR CROSS EACH DAY, AND FOLLOW IN MY STEPS.” LUKE 9/23. ,
In today’s Gospel Jesus asks his disciple, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replies, “The Messiah of God!” This exchange is found in all three synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is a critical point in the gospel story. From this point on Jesus and his followers begin their final journey to Jerusalem and Jesus’ passion and death. After Peter’s proclamation of Jesus’ messiahship, following Mark’s lead, each Gospel has Jesus’ prediction of his upcoming death and resurrection three times. In between each prediction, Jesus instructs his followers of the great cost of being a disciple. Each gospel writer does something different in their retelling the story.
In today’s Gospel from Luke we have the first prediction of Jesus’ death and resurrection followed by the first instruction on the cost of discipleship. “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny their very self, take up their cross each day, and follow in my steps.” This saying is found in all three synoptic Gospels, only Luke adds the words, ‘each day’. Luke is more conscious of the long period of Church history that intervenes between the arrival and the conclusion of the final days, adjusting Mark’s more radical demand to conditions of ongoing Christian living. When Mark wrote his Gospel around 60 A.D. the faithful expected the immediate return of Jesus. By the time Luke wrote his Gospel in 90 A.D. the Christian community was adjusting for what appeared to be a postponement of the second coming of Christ and a settling in for the long haul. The ‘cross’ therefore changes meaning from a heroic participation in the final conflict at the end times to the no less demanding struggle of living our faith in history one day at a time.
I am reminded of my friends in A.A. who must discipline themselves to live one day at a time in their struggles to remain sober. It’s good advice for Christians too. There are times when looking too far into the future can be a frightening thing. There are so many ways in which our fragile world and life are threatened. Sometimes the best we can do is to live one day at a time and leave the rest to God.
WORDS FROM FR. JIM: The following was taken from Fr. Jim Kiernan’s weekly bulletin letter to Missouri Valley last week: “Aren’t the events in Poland, Hungry and Russia gratifying. I hope China doesn’t regress. Now it’s time for us to take care of our poor and have a decent minimum wage. Why is it that no western country has the poverty that we have? I heard the other day that the U.S. has the lowest income taxes of any western country. That would seem to account, at least in part, for the huge debt our generation is placing upon our grandchildren. The just distribution of wealth has been an issue of our Faith and our morals since Our Lord taught justice. So we must be about it.”
89 06 25 Cordaro Wedding
WEDDING, FAMILY EVERYWHERE: I have been swamped with family and wedding preparations this week. Tom and Brigit, their daughter Angela, Brigit’s mother, Mary and my mother have been with me most of the week. It’s been a real experience having little Angela for a week. I have had to change my house about to adjust to a 21-month-old child. Rest assured my vocational choice is still very much in-tact. Review of wedding in next week’s letter.