23rd FEBRUARY 2023



Dt 30: 15-20;              Ps 1: 1-4, 6;                Lk 9: 22-25




This short passage of today’s Gospel introduces a theme which is central to the rest of the gospel. The theme of suffering that leads to life. Peter had just acknowledged that Jesus, Whom he had come to know and love, is God’s messiah. Prophet Daniel speaks of solidarity with those who suffer and who will be vindicated by God at the final judgment (7:13). Peter in accepting Jesus as the Messiah, must also be ready to accept a Messiah who suffers with the outcasts; one who will ultimately be vindicated by God. His rejection at Nazareth, the antipathy with the religious leaders, the fate of John the Baptist as well as a long history of prophets being rejected, was enough to make Jesus realize what was in store for Him.

Luke states that Jesus must suffer and be raised to life on the Third Day. In biblical usage the ‘Third day’ indicates something definite. The Pharisees warn Jesus to leave the territory of Herod, who was determined to kill Him. Jesus replies that he would perform cures today and tomorrow and on the third day finish His work. Whatever might happen today (in the present), tomorrow (in the foreseeable future), and ultimately on the ‘Third day’ God would act and God’s justice would triumph. Jesus was confident that He would be raised and lifted by God on the third day.

Those who want to save their lives; the life, the self or soul in the sense of one’s deepest, most intimate and most mysterious self… must lose it. Here is a paradox that lies at the heart of Jesus. There is a self to which we must say No if we are ever to discover and enjoy our true self; it is the self that must be denied, that we are afraid to let go, it is the self that will not give itself away in life, or waste itself in giving life to others. That self, that small self, that fearful and insecure self must learn to trust itself to Jesus and follow Him in his way of the Cross and find life.

Response: Blessed the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

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