Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Dt 4:32-40; Ps 77:12-16,21; Mt 16:24-28

We are summoned, again and again to meditate on the deeds of the LORD, and this will bring about many changes in our lives.  From ordinary uninvolved Catholics we can became a source of inspiration and charity for our neighbors and the whole church.  This happens at every age in the history of the church when we remember the deeds of the LORD, his wonders of ages past.  The more we meditate upon the LORD and his works, the more we ponder his exploits, and our hearts are broken open by compassion.  Indeed, the Word of the Lord expands our small hearts so that we have room for his plan in our lives.  There is no god like the LORD.  His ways are holy, and among the peoples he has made know his power.  With a strong and outstretched arm the LORD has redeemed his people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.  He led the people like a flock under the care of Moses and Aaron.


In his second telling of the Exodus events the Prophet Moses confronts the people with this challenge, “Did anything so great ever happen before?  Was it ever heard of?”  Moses knew that his time was near to join his ancestors.  He had to make one last appeal to the Israelites.  He summoned them to take a look around.  He called them to behold the wonder of God’s revelation to all the other accounts of the so- called-gods of the nations.  This people had heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, and they were not destroyed.  Indeed, this people were just a collection of slaves among the Egyptians.  The LORD God Almighty ventured to go and take them for himself from the midst of their Oppressors.  With great testing, signs and wonders the LORD terrified their Masters and they were glad to get rid of the sons of Israel.  Even during their years of wandering in the desert the LORD made them his heritage and taught them his just decrees.  So that they might be a bright light shining among the nations, and bringing all the people into a covenant relationship with the LORD. Indeed, this is the plan of God. Indeed, this is the dream of God’s servant Moses.  That all the earth might know that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.  Only when this people keep the statutes and commandments of the LORD will they prosper and have long life in the land that the LORD God is about to give them.  It is the same prophetic voice that summons the people of God in every generation. It is this same voice of Saint Cajetan in the early 16thcentury.


Like the prophets in every age, the Lord Jesus instructs all who follow him in today’s gospel. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”  Indeed, our feet will be happy only if we walk the way of the Cross. Only if we walk the way of suffering love and pour ourselves out will we be happy and rejoice all our days.  The Lord Jesus continues to unfold the mystery of this new way of being human.  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  To lose self in the mystery of the Lord Jesus is to embrace the mystery of the cross. We no longer spend ourselves and our concern upon our own interests and plans.  Now, we find ourselves lost in the delight of doing his will and living his abundant life.  We cannot give anything in exchange for our lives.  We can only receive life as a gift to be treasured and shared with all in need.  When the Son of Man comes with all the angels in his Father’s glory, we will see ourselves as we really are.  We will be seen in Christ, and in his glory will we live and move and have our being unto the ages of ages.  This promise of future glory is glimpsed here in every Eucharist.  With such a vision of glory, we have the strength to raise our heads on high and welcome the Lord of Future Glory.