Fr. Ottavio Raimondo

But you, who do you say I am?

We are looking at a very important event and Jesus faces it with prayer. For Jesus to pray is to speak with the disciples and to help them to interiorize their faith in order to purify it and their adhesion to him. After a previous enthusiasm the crowds start to be  distant from Jesus. According to St. Luke’ Gospel Jesus doesn’t Peter for his answer. The disciples believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and because of this they will have honor and glory. But Jesus wants to turn them towards a very different and personal prospective. Jesus must be considered in his cross’ prospective.

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, keep close to me  and take up his cross

If anyone would become my disciple let him take up his cross every day, and be ready to be crucified every day. Jesus guessed, through  the signs of hostility of the religious leaders, that he could be killed, surely he didn’t think to the cross, maybe he thought he could be stoned up to death. The word ‘cross’, here, has been inserted later , after the paschal experience. The cross is not the crosses, the tribulations and the bad events. But the cross means dedication to Jesus, participation to the Kingdom of God through words and deeds.
The cross that has to be taken up is not suffering and death, but it’s the consequence of the daily fellowship to Jesus, to his Gospel. It is the consequence of a daily life spent in order to research fidelity to God and to humanity. A Christian shouldn’t aspect favorable affirmations, success  and advantages, but he should face incomprehension, persecution and death.
Every day means constant and daily  fidelity to the Master and his life style.

For whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it

This is the commitment to Jesus. The basis of everything is to lose our own lives in order to build up the Kingdom. To lose our own lives means to act many things, but not to walk on paths that Jesus has never walked on. In fact Jesus never walked on the path of violence, of power, of prestige, in few words the road of easy choices, and advantages. He didn’t walk on the path of  ‘I like it’, or ‘I mind it’, ‘everybody does this , everybody thinks like this…..’
“You can’t  imagine how I like to live; how it  makes me weeping to see people who pretend, shaking their heads,  to say me how I should open my eyes. Open, but about what? I have open eyes upon the Gospel that says to me: ‘Courage, answer to with fidelity to infidelity, answer with tenderness to violence, answer with truth to lies. And when I feel exhausted, I know that Jesus is close, at hand, and tells me “whosoever lose his life for my sake shall save it”.
On the same line we find the Bishop Edmond Tutu : “I can repeat that what I say or what I do isn’t a result of my political creed. No! It’s the reading of the Gospel that leads me to worry about the forced transfer of the black people, because this is a diabolic policy that considers the sons and the daughters of God, for whom Jesus has been crucified, as numbers…. A God who doesn’t care about the poor, the oppressed, the exploited and the victims of injustice, will never be a God I have to adore”.