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Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The cross which knows the triumph

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”  Mt 16,24-28

The beginning of the journey following the Lord brings to the mind a young man who goes back to a beautiful girl, because he is attracted by her charm, without immagining that a
wedding, a family, the children to grow and educate, bigger and bigger houses to buy, much effort and many sacrifices will follow. All these are beautiful things and of great satisfaction, but of which this young man had at the beginning no idea, at least not as they would be realized over the years. This is what has happened to the early fishermen who followed Jesus. They previously had a life already mapped out, with some common dreams, when suddenly one day the Lord passed on their way, they have noticed his charm, he told them “Follow me” and they did it and discovered a wholly different world, other thoughts, other dreams, other words, other projects. And, above all, another life, full of miracles and revelations, which have opened their minds and hearts to the mysteries of the Kingdom of the heaven. This experience, however, was for them only a preamble, as it is for anyone who sets him really following the Lord, who, at one point of the road, makes a radical proposal like this one of today: ” Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. At first this way of life, as it was for the first disciples, is perceived as a self-sacrifice and gets a rejection: the charm of Jesus is fine, the dreams, the new projects, the miracles and the parables, but the life is another thing, with that no joke. Then, with the elapsing of the time, one step after the other and a light after the other, we realize that the proposal of the Lord is the only way to truly enter in the heart of the gospel. From a certain point on, the mysteries of  the Kingdom can no longer be penetrated if you do not live it. Here, then, the importance of throwing away the past life, the result of other thoughts, other dreams, other choices and reason of other crosses to embrace what Jesus offers. In the end, it is that new cross to represent the transition from a life lived for oneself and another donated to the Lord and to the men and to look into the mysteries of Kingdom and into the secret of the joy. And in the end, it also sets-up the reason of the triumph in the resurrection, earthly and final.

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