THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 9: 18 – 24]

records an incident most will associate with Matthew’s version [10: 13 – 20]. Luke omits the special designation given to Peter by Jesus. Our evangelist has a different focus.

{Luke’s version of the Gospel has often been referred to as The Gospel according to Peter – Luke was not a contemporary of Jesus, and collected much of his material from the preaching of Peter. The omission is, therefore, interesting.}

In this record the emphasis is on all the disciples. We also need to bear in mind that Luke places the incident within the context of

PRAYER! “It happened that as Jesus was praying alone the disciples were with him.” They were with him in prayer, and it is within this atmosphere that the Lord begins, as it were, to ‘take the gloves off’ in his presentation of the basic challenges of discipleship. Let us reflect on these.

PRAYER –

We should never attempt to pray alone in the sense of prayer being our own individual activity and effort. We have to be with him when we pray – conscious of the fact that we are in his company.

IN WHOSE COMPANY? –

in the company of The Christ of God. Never forget this. This is why all our community prayers end with the words, through Christ our Lord. In this context it is worthwhile noting two phrases from TODAY’S PSALM [63 or 62] – “in your name I will lift up my hands,” and“my soul clings fast to you.”

“TELL THIS TO NO ONE.”

– Many people wonder about this instruction?! It is known as the messianic secret. There are many instances in the Gospel narratives of Jesus saying, more or less, tell no one of this. The reason? Each and every single believer must come to the point when they make their own PERSONAL DECISION ABOUT JESUS CHRIST, LORD AND SAVIOUR. Faith is a personal choice and commitment. However, remember words from THE NEW TESTAMENT READING [ GALATIANS 3: 26 – 29]. “In Christ Jesus you are all (children) of God, through faith.” In addition …

‘THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER.”

– Jesus says this immediately after saying “TELL THIS TO NO ONE.” In the popular view the Christ was to triumph without having to die … he was simply to come, overthrow the Romans and restore the earthly kingdom of Israel. It was a simplistic, narrow, view which was not to be realised. Jesus did not want his followers to be disillusioned. The individual’s choice of him must include acceptance of the full realities of life and living. Here, those who propagate the ‘discipleship of prosperity’ have a real problem. No matter how generous we may be with our material resources, we are never ‘insured’ against some sort of ‘suffering’.

“TAKE UP THE CROSS …”

again Jesus presents the warning of a DAILY discipleship. It is not something to be taken casually. Here, however, many make the mistake of equating these words with physical suffering and hardship. NOT SO! Rather, it is a question of FAITHFULNESS and PERSEVERANCE. Yes, most of us have to face challenges, stressful situations, sadness, failure, and some sort of physical and / or material needs – but the secretlies in how we respond (not react) to these ordinary, expected, challenges of life and living.

Make a special note of words from

TODAY’S OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE [ZECHARIAH 12: 10 – 11. 13:1]. There we see that “I will pour out … a spirit of compassion … there shall be a fountain opened …” If we make a proper act of faith {faith in, and commitment to, a PERSON}, and take up the realistic life and path of discipleship we are able to cope with all the challenging aspects which are inexorably connected with life and living.

SAVING AND LOSING LIFE

– here, the key clue is found in some words that follow which refer to losing ones life “for my sake.” In some way we go back to last week’s reflection which emphasised the problem of an ‘a la carte’ approach to the Gospel and discipleship. Also, this Sunday’s COMMUNION ANTIPHON provides another clue … “the eyes of all look to you, Lord, and you give them their food in due season.”

I am not the centre of the universe, and my life must never, entirely, revolve around me, my comfort and convenience. We should find it useful to return, once more, to last week’s reflection – where do I provide lodging for God-in-Christ …

IN the house or on the roof?

As Paul reminds us today, we “have to put on Christ.”

“Who do YOU say I am?”