The Cross and Self-Denial
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
In today’s gospel Jesus addresses his disciples of the condition for true discipleship that is to follow Jesus even to giving up one’s life for him. He indicates that suffering and self denial are central to the Christian life. Jesus is highlighting two approaches to life, one to deny self and take up the cross or love self and ignore the cross. We need to put God first and self last.
- To follow Jesus means to surrender oneself totally to God and be ready to follow Jesus in every aspect of the Servant role, even to carrying the cross.
- It concerns the disciple’s choice to loose themselves entirely in Jesus that is to take on his way of life and mission and his very identity as one’s own.
- Jesus describes what all true disciples must be ready for: if they follow him, they must be ready to face literal scorn and suffering or maybe death.
In the gospel Mathew’s modified version promises only that some of them will not die ‘until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom’. This could refer, not to Jesus’ second coming, but to the resurrection, which inaugurates the end times. But it may already be anticipated in what immediately follows, when ‘some standing here’ (Peter, James and John) see Jesus’ glory revealed on the mountain.
St Francis Xavier became a saint because he was influenced by St Ignatius of Loyola say to him. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeit the loss of his soul.”