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SEPTEMBER 23. Ord Time B. Wk 25. Thu. Mt 16. 24-27

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?

‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour.’

Today’s Gospel reading is for the feast of Padre Pio (1887-1968) who received the Stigmata!

Immediately preceding today’s gospel reading Jesus had just informed his disciples that “he must go up to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised!”

When Peter protested this must not happen Jesus told him firmly; - “Get behind me Satan. You are an obstacle to my work, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s!”

Clearly all the disciples were shocked by this teaching; - that their saviour, who they expected to establish “the Kingdom of God,” was to suffer and die in the coming days. Nobody appears to have understood what was meant by “rising from the dead,” probably because they could not accept the suggestion Christ was to die!

But then we come to today’s reading, where the disciples received another difficult lesson; - that they too would have to embrace suffering! - “‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me!”

This was another teaching they were not prepared for; - they were the disciples of the new Kingdom of Heaven that Christ came to establish; - and now they were told their future King was going to suffer and die; - and they would have to suffer with him!”

And if they were in any doubt about what they were being told, Christ then made the situation even clearer; - “Anyone who want to save his life, will lose it,” followed by “Anyone who loses his life, for my sake, will find it,” which indicated “losing one’s life” was something Christ seemed to support?

One reason for Christ’s teachings on the need for self-denial and the Cross not being understood are the reasons behind it.

Man was created to love and serve God; however, this divine plan was disrupted by man’s choosing to sin; - something we continue to do, even today; - putting ourselves first; - rather our Creator; - the exact opposite of what Christ is teaching us today!

What flowed from this was the need for reparation for our sins; - but as creatures we were unable to make adequate reparation; - which is why Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity became man; - to make atonement for our sins.

Christians are called to imitate Christ in also making Reparation; -something Padre Pio did; - spending 50 years in one monastery; - imitating Christ and atoning for sin, motivated by love!

Gospel Acclamation Lk21:36

Alleluia, alleluia!

Be watchful, pray constantly,

that you may be worthy to stand before the Son of Man.


First reading Galatians 2:19-20 ·

I live now with the life of Christ who lives in me

Through the Law I am dead to the Law, so that now I can live with God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake.

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