Discipleship is embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul, Wk. XIV-C, 07 July 2019
Isaiah 66:10-14 >< }}}*> Galatians 6:14-18 >< }}}*> Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, Malolos Cathedral, 12 June 2019.

Please forgive me for my curiosity: lately I have noticed the sudden sprouting of many “breastfeeding stations” and “lactation sections” in many public places that I feel so tempted getting inside them just to see how the mothers would react.

One of the joys of prayer is how God would communicate with us even with the most crazy ideas we have like that thought of entering a breastfeeding station. I recalled this thought as I dwelt deeply into Isaiah’s prophecy in our first reading today presenting God like a mother comforting her children the Israelites who were exiled to Babylon.

It was one of the lowest points in the history of the Jewish people when they lost everything – family and friends, country and nation, and most of all, their Temple in Jerusalem that they felt they were forsaken by God. As exiles, they were slaves without any freedom at all.

Thus says the Lord: “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her, exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.”

Isaiah 66:10-11, 12b-13

Sometimes, God allows us to experience several blows and beatings in life not because he punishes us or he takes delight in seeing us suffer; sometimes, we need to be like infants and children again to trust God more, to rely to his goodness. It is the surest way to remind us who we really are. That we are not god.

In our second reading, St. Paul bolstered this imagery of our being children of God by reminding us that the only bragging rights we have as disciples of Jesus is to be one with him in his Cross.

Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As children of the Father and disciples of Jesus, our mark of distinction is not found in our greatness, achievements and success but in our being weak, in our being wounded and bruised, always needing the comfort by God like a mother to her children. This is very clear with St. Paul not only in our second reading today but most especially in his second letter to the Corinthians:

“I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

It is in our weakness when God is most manifested.

Try listening to anyone bragging about his or her achievements and talents: for a time, we get impressed, we admire them but in the long run, it becomes both convulsing and convoluting. But when we come to learn or hear the sacrifices and sufferings of people even those we do not personally know, we feel uplifted. We remember God and his goodness, his mercy and love.

Crucifix at the side wall of the chapel of St. John Evangelist at Cana, Galilee. Photo by author, 06 May 2019.

Only the disciples of Christ who join him in his Cross can be filled with the gift of peace, the only possession of every disciple. See how how when Jesus sent out the 72 other disciples, he asked them not to bring anything at all. The only thing they must have is the peace of Jesus Christ that they have to share with everyone they visit.

“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.'”

Luke 10:3-5

Remember that when Jesus visited his Apostles in the locked upper room on the evening of Easter Sunday, he also greeted them with “peace” or “shalom” which is God’s greatest gift to anyone. Shalom in Hebrew means having a good relationship with one’s self, with others, and with God. Peace is always borne out of love and only those willing to sacrifice, suffer and even die for someone are the ones who truly love.

Mt. St. Paul Retreat House, June 2017.

There can be no peace in our hearts when we are filled with pride and ego. We need to be like children again, relying solely in the powers of our parents.

Last Thursday we brought our niece to her doctor at UST Hospital. While waiting for my sister when she left to get the lab results, I saw my niece feeling sleepy. I asked her to sleep on my lap as I gently rubbed her shoulder until she fell asleep soundly and peacefully.

What an attitude of not being bothered by her sickness because she must have great trust in me her uncle, my sister her mom, and also her doctor!

When we embrace our crosses in life and rely solely in Christ, we can also experience peace within. That is when we can rejoice as Jesus assured us, “your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:20).

A blessed week ahead to everyone! Jesus loves you, entrust to him all your worries and woes. Amen.

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