My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Listen to this: ‘You are the Christ.’ Whom do you hear here? Some could say: ‘It is Peter.’ It is a correct answer but it is not the complete answer. In what Peter said we can hear the voices of the other Apostles as well. When every Sunday a Catholic says after the homily ‘I believe in one God’ the Catholic professes that, he or she personally believes in God who is loved, worshiped and believed by this family called the Catholic Church. We speak like Peter did in todays’ Gospel we speak from the midst, from the center, from the heart of the Church which grew around that original nucleus which was made by the Twelve Apostles of the Lord.
How consoling and encouraging it is that none of us is a spiritual orphan or a Christian kind of Robinson Crusoe. That’s why having this realization of following Jesus with others who make the Body of Christ, the Church I also put the Scripture readings in the context the Church reads them day after day. If I love the Scriptures I love the Church too. It was the Church which had the words of the New Testament engraved in her heart and memory. The first copies of the Gospels were the Christian communities. Before the Gospels were written down in ink on paper they were written in Spirit on the hearts and minds of the people who made the Body of Christ in those early days of the Church. That’s why when I read the Mass readings I also focus on how the readings are given to us during the liturgical year.
This Sunday I would like to draw your attention to the sequence of readings over last three days. On Friday we had the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross. On Saturday the Church commemorated Our Lady of Sorrows. Today the Church proclaims to us the Gospel in which our Blessed Lord foretells his crucifixion. In all three Gospel readings the cross stands out. One could say that we are having now a September Cross Triduum. Today as we are completing these three days focused on the Cross of the Lord we are given a mission: ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.’
My Dear fellow believers! Jesus doesn’t send us to search for crosses. He asks us to take up the cross which is growing in our life. Let us look at the first disciple, the first follower of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Gospel for yesterday’s memorial of our Lady of Sorrows we heard that ‘Mary stood near the cross of Jesus.’ She was not fainting. She was not despairing. She, a strong woman of faith, stood there. She didn’t choose that situation she found herself in, there at the foot of the cross on which Jesus was. She didn’t choose that situation. She chose, however, to stand in the midst of that situation as a disciple of the Lord. Each one of us at some stage of our life faces something similar. We find ourselves in situations we don’t choose. Then the calling of our Lord from today’s Gospel becomes our calling too, to choose to stand in these situations, to deal with the situations we didn’t choose, as disciples of the Lord. If the Lord calls us to do that it is because he will not leave us orphans. He will be there like he was in the midst of the two men crucified with him. Then in our own life the unfolding mystery of God and man will occur too.