Friday, August 8 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Dominic, Priest; Founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Holy Gospel: Matthew 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples, “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 will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

Meditation 

Without God we are nothing.Everything we have is an outright gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. Every gift, talent, and ability we have we owe to God. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves; it’s possible to give God lip-service, but not our hearts. Many do this each and every day of their lives.  But a true disciple gladly gives up all that he or she has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin, despair, and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done.

Prayer

May Saint Dominic come to the help of your Church by his merits and teaching, O Lord, and may he, who was an outstanding preacher of your truth, be a devoted intercessor on our behalf. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

What is the most important investment you can make with your life? Jesus poses some probing questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile. In every decision of life we are forming ourselves into a certain kind of person. The kind of person we are, our character, determines to a large extent the kind of future we will face and live. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all in this earthly life. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts in eternity? Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person.  Which is why we need to give today’s Gospel some serious thought as to how we live our lives, and what is most important in our lives.  Perhaps this “prayer of surrender” composed by St. Ignatius of Loyola may be helpful: “Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.”