Gospel according to Saint Luke 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 the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
Jesus rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
Jesus 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.”
What is the difference between a father and someone who donates the seed?
What is the difference between one who loves one’s neighbor and one who blames the marginalized, immigrants and poor for who they are?
What is the difference between Christ and those who crucify Christ… even today?
When Jesus asks, “Who do people say that I am?”
He is asking the same question.
His disciples answered correctly, but they did not accept the reality.
The only way to recognize Jesus in his distressing disguise is to see the reality of His wounds and suffering.
Pope Francis says that true fatherhood means giving life to others. To give life to others requires excruciating suffering and sacrifice.
To love Jesus means to suffer. His suffering becomes our suffering.
There were many false prophets in the time of Jesus, 99 for every 100. How do we know who is a follower of Jesus?
Jesus knows that if we accept the Cross of Suffering and follow him, we will also suffer greatly.
If we accept the Body of Jesus within our own bodies, hearts and souls we will suffer as Jesus suffers. We do this every week in Eucharist. We become what we eat and drink.
My own wounds of Jesus were profoundly revealed to me when I was forced into a horrific war. When Jesus pleaded with me to love like our father… those soldiers and Marines whose bodies were being ripped apart by shrapnel, hatred and diabolic explosions of the mind, body and soul… and their enemies, I wanted to balk.
To witness the death of one’s child would destroy me.
Jesus invited me to pick up my cross and follow His Way.
I never realized what it really meant to be a father until my spiritual sons and daughters suffered and died before me… even those sons and daughters who wished to kill my children and me, who I am.
Jesus loved all those who crucified him.
Jesus asks us to love those who hurt us and kill us.
As you reflect on our fathers today, see if you can recognize his sufferings and joy.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to OUR FATHER and OUR earthly FATHERS!