Homily June 23. 2013 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time C
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
We often hear what Paul said that we are called to put on Christ and become uniquely one with Him. What Luke is telling us today is that in putting on Christ we must put ourself behind us and begin to look out and grow in seeking out other people. What that means is we must accept the cross as part of putting on Christ. It doesn’t mean that we go out and seek to be punished or actively persecuted, but that we know and understand that we have a new way of life that is not really concerned with what the world or others think of us. What sets in, hopefully, is a certain passivity to accept what God sends our way and to let His way be our way. Remember that in Christ’s time the Pharisees and priests sought to follow the law but personalized it where the law became more their own possession than God’s law leading them to become poor leaders. In passively following Jesus we can actively and hopefully daily put ourself aside and really follow his way.
Even today, I ask you, in putting on Christ have we truly done away with all prejudices. Have we put aside nationality, gender, financial condition, or any of the real or imagined definitions of a person or group to see that really we are one and only one in Christ. As believers we can slip in holding the cross by failing to see the person in front of us at any moment. That moment strangely could be as important as many years before it if we remain sensitive to God’s will. Unfortunately we can miss these moments if we become overly invested in ourselves. A contradiction? Yes it is. After all, wasn’t Jesus’ life a contradiction? He said he took it up to lose it. Could it mean any less for us? It means walking with Him even when we are against the flow of the world. How we answer Jesus’ question of who he is, is personal and compelling. Doing and saying the right thing is what we call today politically correct, but God is not politically correct, He is our loving Father and calls us to be like Him and follow His Son. He cares for us individually and as a church but church is not and institution or a building but individual persons each caring one for another as He does for us. This is His Cross for us to take up daily to be there, passively giving more and more.