This Sunday’s readings are a reminder of the paradox of the cross that in order to live one must die. Dying to oneself is something that is avoided because it is uncomfortable. Familiarity is comforting and choosing situations which make one feel comfortable is natural. Even in church, worshippers often find themselves sitting at the same spot during Eucharistic celebrations, hanging out with the same people, going for the same devotions, and so on. For many, when it comes to the end of the day, there is a battle choosing between spending quiet time with the Lord through prayer and that TV programme. It is often the small things in daily life that call for a choice of “hidden deaths” in order to rise with Christ. Is Jesus a comfort in life? Is Jesus a solace in life?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is calling his hearers to put God first, and in the centre of all that they do every day—above even one’s closest bond of kinship. He is emphasizing the demands of discipleship which will bring challenges and conflicts. In the midst of the unceasing responsibilities of one’s family, career, wants and needs that pull a person in many directions, putting Lord our Father first seems the hardest thing to choose. However, Jesus’ call today is to make a choice of what ranks first in our hearts: Him or the world. So, how willing are we to deny ourselves, take the cross daily and follow Him?

Our Father calls each to serve in different ways. There are those who are called to proclaim God’s word like Elisha, and there are those who are called to welcome a prophet, like the Shunamite woman. In the first reading, she offered radical hospitality and received the reward of new life – the gift of a son. Our gracious God understands the limitations we have and pours out His grace in just the right measure for His work to be done, whatever our capabilities. If our Father is not calling us to be a prophet, we can be sure that he has plans for us to serve in another way.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux lived her short life as a cloistered Carmelite where she perfected loving in little ways and dying to self in order to live for others. She has never stepped foot on mission territory and yet she is honoured as the Patroness of Missionaries by the Church.

As Christians, the challenge is to live each and every moment proclaiming the Gospel through words and actions. All are called to be saints by living the Gospel and if called through the Cross. Let us be ready to bring Jesus to every corner of the world and into every heart.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.”

 ~ St. Teresa of Avila



By : Florence Ang