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6/19/16 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

  • From today’s Gospel: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself
    and take up his cross daily and follow Me
    .”
  • This passage is often quoted, but seldom fully appreciated in the context of our daily lives…
  • If we believe that Jesus is calling us to be martyrs we’re sorely mistaken…
  • If we believe that we’re to seek out crosses in our lives… We’re on the wrong track…
  • If we believe that we must do something heroic to follow Christ… We’re missing the point…
  • First – What does it mean to deny oneself…
  • Put simply – It means to consciously put the needs of others ahead of our own…
  • We’re all given opportunities to do this every day… To show someone some small kindness… to help someone in need
  • The point is… that we’re all called to make little sacrifices each day for the good of others… Not out of a sense of obligation, or for of fear of punishment… But out of love
  • All God asks of us is that we make an honest effort… And when we fail… That we try again tomorrow
  • It’s the effort that matters… Not the results
  • None of us are capable of doing this alone… We all require a partnerJesus, through the Holy Spirit, is our partner
  • Without Christ in our lives… All we’re able to see is what the world has to offer us…
  • The primary focus of our lives can become: “What’s in it for me?
  • But when we invite Christ into our lives, our perspective broadens and deepens, and we begin to realize that we’re here for so much more than ourselves
  • We begin to understand that our lives touch the lives of countless others
  • What does it mean to take up our cross in our daily lives?
  • It’s a lot less dramatic than we might imagine, yet it’s just as meaningful as Jesus’ cross
  • We take up our cross… When we work to provide for our families – Regardless of how difficult it may be…
  • We take up our cross… When we help our kids with their homework at the end of the day when we’re bone tired…
  • We take up our cross… When we make the time in the middle of a hectic day, to spend time with a friend who needs someone to listen…
  • We take up our crosses each day in a multitude of ways… but most often simply by being faithful to our commitments in life
  • Being faithful to our commitments, cultivating a life of character and integrity and doing what’s right will require that we take up many crosses throughout our lives
  • It’s always easier to follow the crowd and let someone else do the heavy lifting in life
  • Every time we choose to follow our conscience rather than taking the easy way outWe’re taking up our cross…  
  • Finally - How are we called to Follow Christ…
  • Perhaps the greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of free will
  • God has given us the power to choose how we will live our lives
  • And when we boil each of our choices down to their very essence - We either choose fear, or we choose love
  • When fear prevailsOur ego trumps our conscience… And we tend to become more self-protective and self-centered
    • Our motto often becomes: “Time to Take Care of Number One…”
  • But when love prevailsOur conscience trumps our ego… And we tend to become more selfless and less self-centered
    • Our motto often becomes: “How can I make a contribution in this situation?”
  • Following Christ doesn’t revolve around quoting Bible verses, or citing Church Doctrine, or attending Church services
  • Following Christ has everything to do with how we treat people
  • Do we make others’ lives more difficult through our actions, or do we try to ease their burdens…?
  • Do we show others respect… Or do we treat them with disdain…?
  • Do we try to manipulate people for our own purposes… Or are our intentions sincere and genuine…?
  • Father Henri Nouwen asked: “How different would our life be, were we truly able to trust that it multiplied in being given away!  How different would our life be, if we could believe that every little act of faithfulness, every gesture of love, every word of forgiveness, every little bit of joy and peace… will multiply as long as there are people to receive it...  You and I would dance for joy, were we to know (truly), that we, (little people), are chosen, blessed, and broken to become bread that will multiply itself in the giving.” (Becoming the Beloved, Pgs. 123 & 124).

 

  • Christianity is not so much about what we do… It’s about Who we’re called to become

 

  •  “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

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