Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
The exodus towards the eternity
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.” Mk 8,34-9,1
We are always fascinated by the adventure of the early american pioneers who left their land, all they had, they loaded the wagons by the essential and, in caravans, from the atlantic coast of the America they went west, with the hope for a better future. It is a picture which often emerges when we meditate on the book of the Exodus or when, while opening this page of the gospel, the Lord asks us to deny ourselves, to forsake all, to take up our cross on our shoulders and to follow him. Today Jesus asks us to leave for a flight to the eternity, not knowing exactly what we will find, like those pioneers who went west. We start only because we trust the Lord, the caravan leader who knows the “way” to go, the “truth” about what we will find and the “life” which we will live for the eternity. We like this adventure, it is a fascinating proposal, but what worries us a bit is the baggage, the cross we have to carry on our shoulders. One day during the morning prayer, Claudio, one of our brasilian children, said: “I could not leave without the cross, so, being free, who knows how many beautiful things I could do along the road?”. During the prayer the Holy Spirit suggested to one of us this response: “It is not possible. The cross are our limitations, which are the most beautiful thing we have. With the people with few limits I cannot do anything, but with the limited people I do amazing things”. We answered: “If the matter is in this way, let’s leave”. We left and – we have to say – our limitations along the way have never been a problem. Indeed, they often are transformed into opportunities. One day, during a prayer meeting, Father Fausto said to me: “I need you to proclaim the gospel in my place”. “But how – I said – you know that I suffer from stuttering?”. “I know – he said – but this is not your problem, it is a problem of the Lord. You go and trust”. I trusted, I went and he healed me.