Dear friends in Christ
Following the Gospel of last weekend in which St Peter makes his profession of faith in Christ, there follows this week the revelation of the Passion. This shocks the disciples, since it had not entered into their heads that our Lord would have to suffer and be rejected in this manner; they still thought of His kingdom in political and earthly terms. Hence the rebuke that Jesus gives them and the admonition that the Cross is an essential part of discipleship. Christian spirituality is based on the desire to follow Christ and is found in the daily loving acceptance of pain and sacrifice. There is really no such thing as a fruitful life that is without sacrifice. We all want to be free of suffering, of difficulties and hardship; this is a natural human inclination. But the Christian way of living teaches us that happiness is only possible by embracing whatever comes across our path. We live in a pleasure-seeking world and therefore anything which speaks of the Cross sounds strangely dissonant. Jesus teaches us by contrast that radical renunciation of self is the best way to find fulfilment, since it identifies us with him, the Son of God, who alone shows us the way to perfect happiness.
This week our Schools and Colleges begin a new academic year; many of our young people will also soon be leaving home for tertiary education. Let us go to God the Holy Spirit to ask the help and inspiration necessary to work well in this new year; to be fruitful in what we do, and thereby make a concrete contribution to the building-up of our world with Christ at it’s centre. God bless you!
Fr Kevin Hale