Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

 

take up your cross

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’

OPENING PRAYER

Prayer to Discover and Follow My Vocation

My Lord and my God, you are Love itself, and the source of all love and goodness. Out of love you created me to know you, love you, and serve you in a unique way, as no one else can. I believe that you have a plan for my life, that you have a task in your Kingdom reserved just for me. Your plan and your task are far better than any other I might choose: they will glorify you, fulfill the desires of my heart, and save those souls who are depending on my generous response.

Lord, grant me the light I need to see the next step in that plan; grant me the generosity I need to set aside my own plans in favor of yours; and grant me the strength I need to put my hands to your plough and never turn back. You know me better than I know myself, so you know that I am sinful and weak. All the more reason that I need your grace to uphold the good desires of my heart, O Lord!

Show me your will for me, O gentle and eternal God, and help me to say with Mary, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word,” and to say with Jesus, “Let not my will be done, but yours.”

by Catholic.net Staff Writer

 

COLLECT

Grant, O Lord,

that we may always revere and love your holy name,

for you never deprive of your guidance

those you set firm on the foundation of your love.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

READING ICriucified Monk-2.jpg

Zec 12:10-11; 13:1

Thus says the LORD:

I will pour out on the house of David

and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem

a spirit of grace and petition;

and they shall look on him whom they have pierced,

and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son,

and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.

On that day the mourning in Jerusalem shall be as great

as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

On that day there shall be open to the house of David

and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart.1 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!”2 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:3

Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.

CCC 2561 “You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”4 Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!”5 Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God.6

1 Cf. Ezek 36:26-27.

2 Lam 5:21.

3 Cf. Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10.

4 Jn 4:10.

5 Jer 2:13.

6 Cf. Jn 7:37-39; 19:28; Isa 12:3; 51:1; Zech 12:10; 13:1.

 

APPLICATION

From all eternity God had decided, through the Incarnation of his own divine Son, to raise man, his creature, to the dignity of divine adopted sonship, and make him a sharer in his own eternal happiness. He foresaw, and the Son foresaw, all the humiliations and sufferings this would entail because of the sins and wickedness of the very creatures he was exalting. Yet he was willing, not only to accept these humiliations and sufferings, but to forgive the offenders. He was also willing to give them the grace to repent of and to regret their crimes, and thus make them worthy to share in the benefits of the Incarnation.

It is hard for us, whose minds are so finite and limited, even to begin to understand such infinite, magnanimous love and forgiveness. Yet this very forgiveness, the fruit and proof of love, was foretold centuries before the crucifixion took place, by the prophet we have read today, and indeed by almost all the prophets. These prophecies were confirmed by Christ himself as he was about to die on the cross, when he prayed for his executioners: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

We are all sinners. It was not only the Jewish Sanhedrin that condemned Christ to the death of the cross. We, his professed followers, his own Christians, “crucify again the Son of God” in a certain manner, every time we sin grievously. We despise him when we despise his laws. We insult him when we refuse to recognize his authority. We put him to death when, by mortal sin, we drive his holy Spirit from us.

But the promises he made to the citizens of Jerusalem are for us too, and even more so for us than for them. He foresaw our sins, but he has told us that he is not only ready but anxious to forgive us. There is no sin so serious, no sinner so wicked, as to be beyond the reach and cleansing power of the grace of God. Christ did not become man to be an occasion for sending us to hell. He came to bring us to heaven. There are sinners who, unfortunately, are wrongly but truly afraid of God. It should not be so. God dislikes sin but he still loves the sinner. He wants no man to be eternally lost. He went to great lengths, which are to us almost unbelievable, in order to share his heaven with us. Will he miss any opportunity of bringing us there after all he has already done for us?

Today, think seriously on God’s infinite love for you. If you have offended him, ask humbly for pardon. You are certain to get it. If only we would keep God’s love for us before our minds, not only would we not be afraid to ask for forgiveness, but our normal sense of decency would keep us from offending such a loving Father, and our need for forgiveness would not exist.

 

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

O God, you are my God whom I seek;

for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts

like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary

to see your power and your glory,

For your kindness is a greater good than life;

my lips shall glorify you.

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Thus will I bless you while I live;

lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.

As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,

and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

You are my help,

and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.

My soul clings fast to you;

your right hand upholds me.

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

 

READING IIdecendants of abraham

Gal 3:26-29

Brothers and sisters:

Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ

have clothed yourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek,

there is neither slave nor free person,

there is not male and female;

for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if you belong to Christ,

then you are Abraham’s descendant,

heirs according to the promise.

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 791 The body’s unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: “In the building up of Christ’s Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church.”1 The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: “From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice.”2 Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”3

CCC 1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with him:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.4

The baptized have “put on Christ.”5 Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.6

CCC 1243 The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has “put on Christ,”7 has risen with Christ. The candle, lit from the Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte. In him the baptized are “the light of the world.”8

The newly baptized is now, in the only Son, a child of God entitled to say the prayer of the children of God: “Our Father.”

CCC 1425 “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”9 One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for him who has “put on Christ.”10 But the apostle John also says: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”11 And the Lord himself taught us to pray: “Forgive us our trespasses,”12 linking our forgiveness of one another’s offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us.

CCC 2348 All the baptized are called to chastity. The Christian has “put on Christ,”13 the model for all chastity. All Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life. At the moment of his Baptism, the Christian is pledged to lead his affective life in chastity.

1 LG 7 # 3.

2 LG 7 # 3; cf. 1 Cor 12:26.

3 Gal 3:27-28.

4 Rom 6:3-4; cf. Col 2:12.

5 Gal 3:27.

6 CE 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13.

7 Gal 3:27.

8 Mt 5:14; cf. Phil 2:15.

9 1 Cor 6:11.

10 Gal 3:27.

11 1 Jn 1:8.

12 Cf. Lk 11:4; Mt 6:12.

13 Gal 3:27.

 

APPLICATION

What a consoling and, at the same time, what a frighten-thought is contained in these outright words of St. Paul for me today! “You are a son of God,” he tells me. It is surely consoling to know that God is my Father, a loving father who is interested in me and who has a great inheritance to give me. He thought of me before creation began. Before he created the world he planned to make me his own son and to share his eternal, happy home with me. Every human father, worthy of the name, does all in his power to educate and prepare his children to make their way in this world. But how limited are the human father’s powers! They begin and end in this very finite life and world.

God, my father in heaven, is infinite in his power and love. He can and does help me to succeed in this life, even in my very temporal affairs. He can and does help me to be a success in the future everlasting life also. That is the real life and the real success. Surely, then, I have reason to rejoice, and be consoled at the thought that God has made me his son.

But when I think of my unworthiness, of my earthiness, of my meanness to the Father who has been so good to me, I have reason to be frightened, frightened that through my own fault I could exclude myself from my father’s home. It has happened to others. It certainly can happen to me. It need not. It will not happen because of my past faults–I have the means of ridding myself of them. God foresaw my weakness and provided the great sacrament of his mercy, the sacrament of Penance, so that I could return once more to his friendship and love. If I fail to use the means he gave me, if I persevere in being a prodigal son, ignoring my father and my real home, then indeed I have reason to fear. Not even God himself, my loving Father, can save me from my own folly.

However, God’s mercy is available to the greatest sinner until he draws his last breath. God keeps sending reminders and messengers to his prodigal sons, inviting them home–right up to the last minute. Why should any decent son delay returning to such a loving Father? Let each one of us look honestly at his conduct, in relation to God and his commandments, and if he really appreciates what God has intended for him by making him his son, he will put himself right with his heavenly Father. He will do all in his power to remain a faithful, thankful son, until he is called to his Father’s eternal home.

 

GOSPEL-15

Lk 9:18-24

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,

and the disciples were with him,

he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”

They said in reply, “John the Baptist;

others, Elijah;

still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”

Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”

He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

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.”

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right,1 by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.2

CCC 2600 The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ’s ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father’s witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father’s plan of love by his Passion.3 He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter’s confession of him as “the Christ of God,” and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted.4 Jesus’ prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father.

1 Cf. Am 5:24; Isa 1:17.

2 Cf. Lk 9:23.

3 Cf. Lk 3:21; 9:28; 22:41-44.

4 Cf. Lk 6:12; 9:18-20; 22:32.

 

APPLICATION

The lesson intended for us in this passage of Luke’s gospel is most likely in the last few lines. A true follower of Christ if he values eternal life must be ready to carry his cross and, if necessary, must be ready to be nailed to it, as Christ was. We are Christians because we sincerely want to have the everlasting life he came on earth to give us. He went through the excruciating death by crucifixion, the most painful and the most humiliating form of execution then known. He did so in order to enable us to merit heaven. He was the Son of God. He had no sins or faults of any kind to atone for. His sufferings were all willingly undertaken for our sakes.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that we should be expected to imitate him for our own sakes and in so far as God will demand it of us, by carrying our daily crosses. Down through the nineteen and a half centuries of the Church’s history, there have been heroic examples of men and women who have undergone torture and martyrdom rather than deny Christ or risk their eternal life. We respect them and we honor them. Most of us may feel we would be unable to face such a test of our faith. But God will see to that. When he sends a heavy cross, he strengthens the shoulder that has to bear it.

What the vast majority of us are called on and expected to do, is to bear our own relatively little daily crosses cheerfully and gladly–keeping God’s commandments when temptations to break them are strong around us. Bearing patiently with one’s state in life when others seem to have the best of everything, putting up with a nagging wife or husband, often is a slow and private martyrdom. Forgiving those who injure us and not seeking revenge is a heavy cross, too. Bearing ill-health patiently, instead of perpetually grumbling against God and against those around us, is another form of Christian martyrdom.

These are but a sample of the many crosses that all men have to bear. Those unfortunate ones who have never heard of God or of a future life, or who refuse to believe in anything beyond the grave, have the same crosses to bear as we have. We have the marvelous help of our faith. We know that there is an eternal life awaiting us, if we live our Christian life as Christ told us to live it. This surely lightens our crosses, whereas the atheist has nothing to lighten his load of sorrow, no future to look forward to, and the present life is a misery until the grave puts an end to it.

Thank you, God, for the gift of faith. Thank you, Christ, for having made eternal life available to me, and for showing me how to reach it. Please give me the grace and the strength to show myself worthy of my heavenly calling by carrying cheerfully every day the crosses you wish to send me.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission of Franciscan Press.

 

BENEDICTUS

What it Means to Follow

What does “the following of Christ” really mean? Is this following a real possibility for modern men and women? Does it perhaps even point out the only way of becoming and being a human person? If so, then a Christian may assert that the following of Christ embodies the decisive possibility for the human race and that only this following brings to light the real nature of the enigma that is man… What does “the following of Christ” mean?… “Following” is something quite external but at the same time something very interior as well. Something external: an actual walking behind Jesus on his journey around Palestine. Something interior: a new direction for one’s life, which no longer has business, the earning of a livelihood, and one’s own wishes and ideas as its central points of reference but is surrendered to the will of another, so that being with this other and being at his disposal are now the really important content of a human existence… To follow really means to go behind, to move in the direction prescribed, even if this direction is completely contrary to one’s own wishes. Precisely because the word “follow” is meant so literally, it affects the innermost depths of the human person. The words “Follow me!” contain, first of all, a summons to give up a previous calling. At a deeper level, however, they are a summons to give up one’s very self in order to live entirely for him who, for his part, willed to live entirely for the Word of God: so much so that later reflection could recognize in him the incarnate Word of God himself.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

 

CLOSING PRAYER

O Lord, help me know your will for me.

Let your light shine in the depths of my heart,

that I may know what you want me to do with my life.

Help me believe that you have a special plan for me.

Lord, I know I pass through this life only once,

help me decide how you want me to make a difference.

Like our Blessed Mother, give me the wisdom to hear your voice

and the courage to answer your call.

Above all give me peace of mind and heart.

I offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers/prayers-for-vocations.cfm

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
This entry was posted in agnostic, athiest, Benedictine, Benedictine oblate, Bible Study, Catholic, Christian, faith, Holy Spirit, Liturgy, mercy, Oblate, prayer, The Word of God, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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