I’m sure you’ve all heard the sarcastic statement “Do as I say, not as I do.”. I’m guilty of that statement at times, I get the impression that many of our politicians have that as their credo; it seems sadly that some who now lead my beloved Catholic church have adopted that way of life too. That saying brings me back to the comment Jesus made in Sunday’s Gospel – we can all see clearly the spec in someone else’s eye but can’t see the plank in ours.
Today’s readings are the exact opposite of do as I say, not as I do. We are told in the first reading that the true way to live a blessed and full life is by way of the Lord’s commandments. Follow those and choose the way of life. Ignore God’s commandments and death will surely follow. That point is again brought home in our response Psalm — Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. Psalm numero uno.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
And in today’s Gospel we hear the conditions of what we can expect if we are to be a disciple of Christ.
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?
So the questions to reflect on are rather simple – is Christ a do as I say’er, not as I do’er? Was Christ willing to take up His cross daily? Was He willing to lose His life in order for the good of God’s will? Am I willing to take up my cross, daily? Am I willing to sacrifice the comforts and ease of an earthly life, suffer through the stress, the illness’, endure the many crisis’ and offer all of that up for what is the promise to come? Am I ready to be a disciple of Christ?
I offer you the following from the footnotes of Mark’s Gospel on the same topic of discipleship…
* [8:34–35] This utterance of Jesus challenges all believers to authentic discipleship and total commitment to himself through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it…will save it: an expression of the ambivalence of life and its contrasting destiny. Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.
Do something great for our Lord today – do as Christ says, do as Christ does.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase, I must decrease.