Gospel for Sunday March 22, 2020

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen (بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس إلهٍ واحد آمين).

(Third Sunday of Great Lent) -Christ is in our midst!

In the gospel lesson of ST. Mark 8:34-9:1, in verse 34 Jesus speaks to His disciples and the people about the requirements to becoming a Christian which includes taking up one’s cross to follow Him. Thus, the cross which will later become the Christian symbol of our faith. Whereby, Christ endured suffering and pain during His crucifixion, hence “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Another point regarding “taking up one’s own cross” is you should stay away from evil and sinful ways so you can walk in the path, in the light of Jesus Christ. In verse 35, Jesus speaks of for whoever would save his life will lose it. Meaning, He is talking about the value of our own life (or soul) versus self-sacrifices for our Lord which is different from the value of our own life. Simply put, you must give Christ a hundred percent of your life to Him. In our baptism during the procession we say, “as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” which is just the start of our Christian life whether being baptized as an infant or as an adult. Thus, you lose your life to Him to enter the kingdom which includes the suffering for Christ Jesus that eventually leads to our union with Christ from the release of sin (salvation). To summarize this, one must consider the stakes that are involved to be one with Him. Alternately, you must relinquish all earthly things to gain eternal life, “you cannot serve to masters (Matthew 6:24).” In verses 36 and 37, Jesus speaks of soul (life) spiritual nature and profit. Meaning, you cannot exchange your soul for earthly and material things, thus souls are beyond valuable because they are a gift from God. In verse 38, Jesus speaks of people being ashamed of Him, pertaining to rejecting the Son of God’s words and maintaining their quest of what the world offers. Furthermore, in verse 38, He speaks of the glory of His Father with the holy angels, indicating that in this event it is referring to the kingdom of God which is just a partial experience or hint of the kingdom that will eventually come later. This is also linked to the transfiguration which is also a hint or glimpse of “the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”  Finally, in verse 9:1, our Lord tells the disciples and the people regarding the “kingdom of God, come with power.” This also is associated to the Son of Man coming in glory. Relating to “will not taste death” indicating the disciples or the people will not die before the cogency of the word spoken by Jesus in His sermons and teachings. Consequently, always in His sermons and teachings He always had a compelling affirmation. This could also mean those that were standing there will see Christ coming with the kingdom of God with power. In addition to “with power” which would include his resurrection.

God bless you!

Reflection on Gospel  

I wonder how many people can take up their own cross and follow our Lord today? I spoke about in this gospel lesson taking one’s own cross and following Jesus. On that note of the cross, which is a symbol of our own Christian faith, do you wear a small cross around your neck? We are very blessed to be in a country that allows us to wear such crosses. In some countries a person cannot wear the cross, because they will be persecuted for it (How sad ). Pertaining to and back to taking one’s own cross even in today’s world (and I’m talking about Christians), some people are afraid to do this (believe it or not). Sad as it seems, they are terrified because they do not want to be made fun of, poked fun at, or be embarrassed which comes to mind verse 38 of this gospel lesson where Christ said, “being ashamed of me.” I can tell you this, and as I mentioned in verse 38 defining what He was saying of being ashamed, when we reject His teachings and His works, etc. just because you want to maintain a quest of what the world offers versus being in the kingdom with our Lord, these people need to reexamine their thoughts about this because you’re only going to be in this world for so long. So, I say to these people, “wake up and smell the coffee! Do not be ashamed of Him (even though we pray in church)! Pray at home, pray when you go out for dinner, etc. etc.” But most of all, be one of His soldiers in Christ and take up your cross and follow Him. Now we are in mid lent, whereby in the church we present to you the cross to assist you with your prayer and fasting. Another way of expressing this is, the cross is the booster shot for you and the Lord to say, “well done! You made it halfway!” And the rest of the way, “the journey” of Great Lent which eventually lead to the passion week of our Lord and the gold which is Pascha.

God bless you!