Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today’s Gospel passage from Luke 9, ends with these words from Jesus:
…He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
My favorite definition of “disciple” is “learner”, although I think most people think in terms of a “follower”. When Jesus said to all: “If anyone wishes to come after me…” He tells us what we must do, but we may ask how? How do I deny myself? How do I take up my cross daily and follow? We need to become not only those who follow in thought or word but we must do the truth we hear lovingly. How? Jesus has told us in Matthew 11: “Learn of Me for I am meek and humble of heart”.
Mary is given to us as Mother and Model. She was given the capacilty to learn from the first instant of her existence for she was filled with grace. So too we were given by the grace of our Baptism the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity that we may learn to know, to love and to serve God in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next. Most of us did not keep our Baptismal innocence but fell into sin and needed to be washed in the sanctifying waters of grace in the sacrament of Confession that we might begin again to repent and believe in the good news: Jesus!
Our Life is in Christ, and He comes to us this morning in Eucharist, even as He was given to Mary physically so now in He comes to us in His Resurrected Body in Holy Communion. The manner is different but it is the same Jesus substantially present in Eucharist who asked His first disciples, and now asks us, “Do you wish to come after Me?” If we desire to be true disciples, if we we deisre to save our lives by losing them, we need to look to Mary. She who said: “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word” learned moment by moment, as we do, grace by grace. She is all we are called to be. In her we see His perfect disciple, the learner who followed Him – totally denying herself, constantly giving herself to the Father’s Will with Jesus.
O Jesus, living in Mary, come and live in Your servants…