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One Day at a Time
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
He said, “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.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me what I need to be your disciple TODAY.
- Daily: When Luke gives an account of Jesus’s condition for discipleship he adds the word daily. It reveals Luke’s conviction that discipleship requires daily struggle. Luke the evangelist was not a first generation Christian. He came to know Jesus through the teachings and preachings of eyewitnesses. He also lived in the time of great expectation of the Parousia, yet he seemed more concerned with following Jesus whole-heartedly every day. As Saint Paul’s companion, Luke experienced the daily crosses of discipleship first hand. While he didn’t live with Jesus or hear Jesus’s words in person, he nonetheless heard Jesus speak those words to his heart every day that he intentionally chose to be Jesus’s disciple. Jesus speaks those same words to our heart whenever we avail ourselves to read the Scriptures.
- Today Is Sufficient: We are quick to count the costs of discipleship, fearing what is to come. But Jesus reminds us not to be anxious about tomorrow (Matthew 6). He speaks of trusting in Providence for material goods, but God provides the spiritual we need for each day as well. We should not say, “Jesus please don’t ask me to carry a heavy cross tomorrow,” but rather, “Jesus, give me the strength to carry this one cross today.” A disciple is called upon to live in the present moment with faith, trust, and love. Jesus gives us all that we need to invest in today’s task of discipleship. Let’s invest it! Spend it today for Christ, and do not save it for tomorrow, for tomorrow may not come.
- True Profit: What if all of our accumulated possessions were sent away but we were left behind? Would we lose our grounding? Our identity? Our meaning and purpose? Jesus asks us to examine our attachments. “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” He reminds us that real profit is in possessing eternal life through his salvific grace and our acceptance, daily, of that gift. When we keep our eyes on what we are made for (relationship with God) we find that the strength and the mercy of God helps us through any daily cross that needs to be carried.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, help me to carry my cross today. Help me to remember who I am and what I was created for. Help me to focus on the gift you give me daily to persevere in loving you and, through you, those in my life.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will resolve to take up my cross and follow you TODAY.
For Further Reflection: Fr. Mike Schmitz, How to Pick Up Your Cross, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhivUtZhdRI;
Robert Barron on Three Reasons Why I Wear a Crucifix, https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/three-reasons-why-i-wear-a-crucifix/5714/.
written by Jennifer Ristine