June 23, 2013: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them
and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:18-24)
What does it mean to “deny” oneself and to “lose” one’s life? It seems essential that a person has to know who she or he is before one can understand the meaning of Jesus’ teaching in today’s Good News. Often, we know better who we are not. For example, we are not our older or younger sibling or our next door neighbor or a friend at school or work.
During this week, can we come to know the truth of Jesus’ words by fully accepting and loving ourselves as we are and letting go of whatever keeps us from being our true selves?