REFLECTION FOR TODAY
February 18, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9:22
Jesus knew He would suffer greatly, be rejected and killed. How would you deal with that knowledge if you somehow knew this about your own future? Most people would be filled with fear and become obsessed with trying to avoid it. But not our Lord. Jesus was so intent on embracing His Cross with unwavering confidence and courage.
This is just one of several times that Jesus began to break the news to His disciples about His pending fate. And each time He spoke this way, the disciples for the most part remained either silent or in denial. Recall, for example, one such reaction of Saint Peter when he responded to Jesus’ prediction of His Passion by saying, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you” (Matt. 16:22)
Our gospel reference today shows the strength, courage and determination of Jesus through the fact that He speaks so clearly and definitively. And what motivates Jesus to speak with such conviction and courage is His love. Jesus’ words today challenge us to live as his disciples by letting go of the desire for personal gain and saying yes to God’s will for our lives. Bearing our cross each day looks different for each person by when done out of true love is fulfilling.
Too often, “love” is understood as a strong and good feeling. It’s perceived as an attraction to something or a strong liking of it. But that’s not love in the truest form. True love is a choice to do what is best for another, no matter the cost, no matter how difficult. True love is not a feeling that seeks selfish fulfillment. True love is an unwavering strength that seeks only the good of the person who is loved.
Jesus’ love for humanity was so strong that He was driven toward His pending death with great power. He was unwaveringly determined to sacrifice His life for us all, and there was nothing that would ever deter Him from that mission.
In our own lives, it’s easy to lose sight of what true love actually is. We can easily become caught up in our own selfish desires and think that these desires are love. But they are not.
Reflect, today, upon the unwavering determination of our Lord to sacrificially love us all by suffering greatly, by enduring rejection, and by dying upon the Cross. Nothing could have ever deterred Him from this love. We must show the same sacrificial love.
Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your unwavering commitment to sacrifice Yourself for us all. I thank You for this unfathomable depth of true love. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to turn away from all forms of selfish love so as to imitate and participate in Your most perfect sacrificial love. I do love You, dear Lord. Help me to love You and others with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.