Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Too often we want to save ourselves on our own. This stubbornness complicates our lives. When we try to do this (when we want to get rid of our crosses, to solve our problems and our dramas on our own) we are excluding God from the equation – as if faith were something that cannot help us actually deal with our lives. And then, when life hits us hard, we feel alone, weak, and abandoned.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us things are the other way around:
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
We are Christians when we carry our crosses with Jesus – not when we do it alone. One is a Christian when one has absolute confidence in Him, when we know he will take over when we are unable to do anything.
Basically, Jesus invites us to trust Him. If we only did that, how peaceful our lives would be!
Instead, we would prefer to do everything on our own. Truly, sometimes we feel able to conquer the world. But Jesus warns:
“for what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?”
Today, the Gospel invites us to downsize. We do not need to face hardship alone, deluding ourselves, thinking that we can be happy by filling our lives with stuff. Only love can satisfy the human heart. And God’s is the most reliable Love there is.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.