|12th Sunday in Ordinary time, 19 June 2016|
From the Dean’s desk
We have a little over two weeks left until we face the polls for the Federal election on July 2nd. After what seems to have been a very long campaign no doubt from here in we will continue to hear a great deal from the individual candidates and the various parties regarding their policies and vision for the nation and its future. Accompanying this will be an endless number of surveys and opinion polls throughout the nation with various questions asking for people’s appraisal of both the candidates and policies. The candidates will be looking forward with anticipation to see how they are being perceived by the public, no doubt with slogans such as ‘the only poll that matters is the one on election day!’ Political candidates are forever seeking the opinions of the public and how they are reflected in the eyes of the voters. They make the necessary adjustments according to these polls and surveys.
In the Gospel today [Luke 9:18-24] we hear of two ‘polls’ being conducted by Jesus. Firstly, he asks his disciples about what they have heard people saying about Him. Jesus receives the usual answers based on his prophetic background: John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. Then he more specifically asks the disciples who they believe He is. Peter speaks for the Twelve in naming Jesus as ‘the Christ of God. [9:20]. Jesus asks them to remain silent over this revelation. He then uses Peter’s profession of faith as a means to educate them more fully with regard to the true meaning of His mission. In order then to correct them, or rather to allow them to properly focus on His mission, Jesus then presents the first prediction of his Passion, stating that his fate will be in the hands of the religious leaders, that he will be put to death and that he will rise on the third day. This would have caught the disciples by surprise – a teaching that would have been foreign, complicated and difficult for them to comprehend and understand.
Not waiting for a response from them Jesus then explains what it means for those who wish to follow Him. Two elements are asked: to renounce themselves and to take up their cross daily. The idea of renouncing oneself has the notion of allowing something within one’s life to die. It has to do with letting go of selfishness and moving towards a more selfless attitude towards people and the world. It entails putting on the mind of Christ. The fact that Jesus tells us that we need to take up our cross ‘each day’ suggests that this is a continual process – one that is never attained, but faced each day!
As I hear these conditions that Jesus places before his disciples and before me, the question that comes to mind is: What do I need to let go of in order to follow Jesus more fully? Is there an attitude of resentment, jealousy, anger or pride that stands in the way? Whatever it is I need to name it, confront it and let go of it in order for me to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. This dying to self is not a call to a masochistic way of life, but rather to be able to witness to the ways of Jesus to others. It is the means by which we save our lives rather than lose it. Am I ready to take up these two conditions of renouncing myself and of taking up my cross each day in order to follow Jesus?
Fr Robert Bossini