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12th Sunday – Ordinary Time

Many new things facilitate daily living now. The cell phone made trips to the phone booth unnecessary. Mail is sent through email instead of the post office. Food is delivered to your doorsteps. The computer can be carried in your pocked in the form of the palmtop and other gadgets.

Because of this, we have grown impatient because technology made us move in a fast-paced world. Anything slow and below par in quality must be declared obsolete and unnecessary. Anything that burdens must be eliminated.

What do we feel when we hear our Lord Jesus pronounce these words in the gospel: If anyone wants to follow me, he must forget himself, carry his cross every day and follow me.” This is after Peter had just confessed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, as the Savior.

The Lord is telling us that if our faith in him is strong, if we believe he is the Savior sent by the Father, if we resolve to follow him, then we must be ready to forget personal agenda, to carry our daily crosses and follow in his footsteps. In other words, it is not easy to be a follower. To want to follow Jesus is to enter into a world of sacrifice.

How many of us know how to sacrifice? We don’t even hear this word too often these days. Before, when we say a person is a lover, then we mean, he is an expert in sacrificing for another. But in the midst of the comforts of life, we think we can love without sacrifice? We think we can easily escape the cross once we feel it approaching us?

An old widow had an only son. When the widow grew old and was paralyzed due to a stroke, the son removed her from the house and gave her a bed by the gate, covered by scraps of wood above as roof. There, near the garbage dump, the mother was left out in the cold. When the son’s family transferred to another house, the mother was abandoned in a small hut, to be there all alone, and visited occasionally by the daughter-in-law. Stray cats kept the woman company and mosquitoes sucked her blood at night. The son even planned to give his mother away to the abandoned elderly shelter. Shocking, but true.

But there are still signs of hope around us. Parents who are working abroad for their kids, students working and studying at the same time to help their parents, siblings who take turns finishing college, a husband or a wife patiently caring for a sick spouse or a special child.

God does not intend suffering. He is not the source of pain and evil. But the human condition makes us vulnerable to these. In the midst of all these, we prove our closeness to Christ by learning to bear with one another and serve one another. Let us pray that we may prove our live by sacrifice.