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09/13/15 Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Reggie

"You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." In other words, God's ways differ from our ways, and we need to learn to follow him and not ourselves.

Christ teaches this lesson in the context of his own passion and death, which he has just predicted to his band of followers. Jesus never sugarcoats his call to discipleship; to be his faithful friend will involve sharing in his cross, there is no way around it. But crosses, when borne together with Christ, always lead to resurrections. If we follow him on the path of self-denial, "losing" our self-centered lives in order to be faithful to him and his Kingdom, we will "find" true life, life in communion with God. Perhaps no other gospel lesson is more difficult to learn, or more important.

So much of human suffering springs from our own, free (and selfish) choices. To eliminate all suffering, therefore, God would have to eliminate our freedom. But if we were not free to reject him, we would not be free to accept him, and he values our friendship too much to turn us into robots.

The link between Christian joy and the cross, then, isn't a weak point in Christianity; it's our greatest strength: Christ's passion was no coincidence.

How many advertisements do you think most of us see or listen to every day? Probably at least 14. And what is the message behind almost all of those advertisements? In some form or another, each one of them is telling us that we can have more happiness if we have less inconvenience, which this particular product or service can provide for us. In other words, our consumer culture is convinced that lasting joy comes with diminishing crosses.

But God has showed us that true lasting joy, Christian joy, includes the cross. How can we counteract this daily bombardment of seductive advertising messages? An ancient tradition in the Church is the perfect antidote: the Stations of the Cross

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