REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 25, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. Lk. 9:44-45
Jesus again in our gospel reference revealed the central reality his mission in his prophecy of his death or his cross which is the way to salvation and his disciples could bot grasp what he meant, and they were afraid to ask him. Why did they not understand, and why were they afraid to ask Jesus about His coming passion?
The disciples were deeply attached to our Lord, both on a spiritual level and through their affections. This was good, but sometimes our affections can cloud our thinking and make it difficult to understand the deeper spiritual realities in life. Though our affections are natural, they must always be directed by the will of God.
The disciples were unable to understand the mystery of the cross that Jesus had to lay down His life, be rejected, suffer, and die, in part because they were very attached to Jesus in an emotional and affectionate way. It was their human love and attachment to Jesus that hindered their ability to understand the greater spiritual good of the cross in Jesus laying down His life.
How would the Blessed Virgin Mary have reacted to Jesus saying that He had to be handed over, be rejected, suffer, and die? Though this would have grieved her with a holy sorrow, the perfection of her human nature would have led her to not only understand and accept this deep spiritual truth, but she would have also desired this to happen within her affections because she perfectly desired the fulfillment of the will of the Father
In our own lives, we will often tend to struggle in the same way that the Apostles struggled. When faced with some challenging cross in life, a cross that the Father calls us to embrace freely, we will often find that our affections resist. When this happens, we become confused and even fearful of the future. Thus, the only way to conquer fear is to work to surrender every emotion, every affection, and every human attachment over to the will of the Father so that His will is all we desire with every power of our soul.
Discipleship, union with God, and fullness of life come not because of miracle or teaching but through obedience to the call of Jesus “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me”
Reflect, today, upon the interior struggle of the disciples as they came face-to-face Jesus as He began to prepare them to accept, understand, choose, and desire the cross. Consider the interior struggle they went through at that time and even as they saw things unfold. Ponder upon those ways Jesus is inviting you to choose His Cross in your life. Where you see your affections resisting, try to surrender, pray for understanding and seek the courage you need to desire His Cross with all your soul.
Lord, You opened Your divine heart to Your Apostles and invited them to understand and choose Your suffering and death. And though they hesitated and struggled, You continued to invite them to embrace the Father’s will. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to embrace every spiritual truth first and foremost and to allow that Truth to free me from fear and fill me with the gift of understanding. Jesus, I trust in You.