Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 16, 24-28

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?

'For the Son of man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his behaviour.

In truth I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming with his kingdom.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage immediately follows Peter’s profession of faith and Jesus’ rebuke. Peter had tried to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem after he had told them he would suffer, be killed and then rise from the dead. At this point, Jesus wants to explain clearly to the disciples what it means to follow him: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” His words seem harsh, and they are, but Jesus is the first to live them. And now he proposes them to his disciples, who do not need to do anything other than follow their Teacher, who took up the cross before them—not his cross, but everyone’s, that is the difference—because salvation comes from the cross. Jesus does not get caught up in our uncertainty, but asks us to overcome it by trusting him. Jesus’ proposal to his disciples seems paradoxical to the selfish mentality that guides our convictions and behaviours. In truth it expresses a deep wisdom that can clearly be seen in the next sentence: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” We think we can save our lives by holding back, looking for payback, lording over others, or seeking recognition and honour. Jesus warns us that spending our energy, time and strength to save ourselves, or, as people often say, to realize ourselves, actually leads us to lose ourselves, that is, to a life that is sad and often dysfunctional. Only if we live for the Lord, only if we plan on spending our life to love everyone, without any limits, just as Jesus did then we will taste the joy of life. What is it worth to gain the whole world if we are neither loved nor capable of loving? It is what Paul explains in his hymn to charity when he says that without charity, that is, without love, even the ability to do extraordinary things and perform great feats of generosity is useless. Only love never ends, and only the Lord saves us, because he alone teaches us what love is. Like love, the eternal life is not something we can buy, but only receive from the Lord, who in due times “will repay everyone for what has been done.” Following the Lord is the serious business of our life, because it is only God who can save our life from evil and death. Jesus speaks of an imminent return. Christians always live in waiting, so as not to fall asleep and to recognize the many signs of Jesus and his kingdom among us.