Parish
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Sermon on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chapter 9: 18-24 is one of the many hard and troubling sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke that provides yet another chance to grapple with a quite interesting, frightening and repulsive text. After careful consideration and knowing how costly and hugely demanding commitment to Christ is, I don’t think it’s something many of us would love to do. We’re enjoying life immensely and denying ourselves of shopping, enough sleep and summertime fun galore, are things we couldn’t afford to miss at this time of the year. Also, there’s an innate tendency in us to possess and hoard things, focus on what and how much we can get out a business contract, play safe, refrain from making a stand on volatile issues rather than do the right, share what we have, say no to evil, show compassion and not curtail it, give our lives to Christ and prepare for eternity no matter how vague it might be.

Specifically in American society, there is an overemphasis on the self and on things material which take precedence over anything else and often result into an unbridled selfishness, antithetical of the very notion of Christian religion. As we reflect on the text, it might be good to ask, what is more important to you, the pursuit of the lofty ideal of selflessness or the imitation of the stubborn self-centered lives featured at the magazines sold at the checkout lines? It’s not that I am jealous about their vitals. I just want to make sure that our lifestyles must be far removed from personal vanities. In a wide tapestry of believers, it’s clearly important to be aware that though Christianity deals human situations, it doesn’t begin with us nor with our human experiences but with our participation in the passion of Christ who himself embodied the radical notion of sacrifice. At times, many of us think and expect that attendance to the church on a given Sunday leads to a free ride to life’s numerous trials and difficulties.

Following Jesus does not guarantee painlessness. Instead, it helps us to see life from a completely different dimension that is, to be persistent in the face of humiliation, suffering, embarrassment  and adversity of all sorts. To take up one’s cross daily is to be prepared to endure the worst for the sake of Christ. The attempt to face hardships and challenges and efforts at working to achieve some measure of selflessness is definitely, the name of the game.

To develop relationship with Jesus strictly involves knowing him personally. You can read a book, listen to a inspiring sermon, watch a sensational movie, write a dissertation on Christology, finish a Doctoral degree in Theology and still feels inadequate and ignorant. Christianity is an exciting and tough quest of knowing the person of Jesus however, we want to do it. We mature in faith when we start to stand not on our own ground but on him who saved us. Only then can we blurt out like Peter, The Christ of God! Amen.

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A Filipino Catholic Priest, born and raised in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, AZ, eleven years in ministry and counting, currently assigned as Pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Parish, Marana, AZ.

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