©2012 James Dacey, Jr. OFS
What a question to begin with, but an important one we all must consider, either in private or in public. Today’s gospel can be found in Mark 8:27-35 (Who Do People Say That I Am?). I think it’s rather remarkable that even today; two thousand plus years later, so many people have such a challenge trying to identify who Jesus is. It was through Peter’s faith that he was the first disciple to identify Jesus boldly and directly. But honestly why is it so difficult for others to say the same thing? I think I know why. Look at what Jesus said at the end of today’s passage, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.” That is some heavy stuff for anyone seeking to find pleasure, success and wealth in this life.
So if we were to identify Jesus as Lord and Savior and we acknowledge His Lordship, our life would be different; different how? He is asking us to deny our own selfish desires of what we want, and then He said we would have to carry our own cross and while carrying that cross we are to follow after Jesus, and that’s not even the end of it, there’s more. He further said we must lose our lives, lose our lives???? Oh my, so I can’t live my life, my way, doing what I want, and what I desire when I want, with whom I want. And then He finishes that thought with, whoever loses their lives will be the ones who actually save their lives. I love this scripture!! So let’s understand this more clearly, we must live a life totally and completely submissive to Our Lord’s wishes and Will for us, and forget our own personal desires and goals. Who on earth would want to do that? What a waste of life, what a waste of time??? NO IT’S NOT!!! Think about it. Life here on earth is what about 50-60-70-80 year’s long, ok maybe some will see their 90’s and even 100, then what? I think the real question is: Where do you wish to spend eternity? For where your heart is, there your treasure will be… And remember eternity is time without measure... endless.
This is indeed a very hard teaching, a scripture more than most likely no one will really even attempt to even try to live. I say boo who: Just do it!!! I promise you will never ever regret giving up pretty much everything and then devoting as much time as you possibly can to Him; in prayer, in fellowship, in sharing, writing, talking, celebrating and telling everyone of your love for Him. It was the spring of 1983 for me (29 years ago), that marked the end of the old me that lived for me and pretty much excluded Jesus from most of, if not all of my life. But a new me was born-again, not a mini-me (lol), but rather a spiritually awaken me, a very alive part of me that has made my life absolutely incredible. I am forever on cloud nine, bubbly excited, wound up, very optimistic and I always filled with tremendous joy and tremendous energy. Just the mere thought of Jesus, or Mary, or scripture, or sharing my faith with others, or uniting in prayer and the excitement levels inside me reach earth shaking levels that wined me up.
I challenge you today: To begin living a life that completely, fully puts Jesus first in all that you do, all that you are responsible for and all that you so desire. Make Him the center of your everything, every single day.
Your Brother in Christ Jesus and His Most Precious Mother Mary, Jimmy (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS