June 23, 2019
XII Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C
We continue the journey of the Sundays of Ordinary Time, accompanied by the Gospel of Luke.
We are in Chapter 9, and the verses we read today (Lk 9:11b-17) can be divided into three parts: in the first, we find the question of Jesus concerning His identity with the resulting answer of the apostles, and Peter’s in particular; it follows the first announcement of the passion, and finally, the words of Jesus on following, on the style that must characterize whoever sets out on the way after Him.
It already seems to me from this we can deduce a major element, and it’s that the identityof a Christian is closely linked to that of Jesus. Indeed, Jesus puts a question about Himself to the disciples, about what the people and the disciples themselves have understood concerning His person and ministry. But immediately after, He speaks to them, the disciples, reviewing their life starting with His, like the watermark.
As the Lord is, so are His disciples.
It is not possible, therefore, to really know oneself until we know Christ; and the more deeply we know Him, His life, His history, the meaning of His existence, the more we will understand ourselves and the mystery of our life; the more will we become ourselves.
Indeed, there is no real knowledge of the mystery of man without this “mirror” that alone can show us who we are.
It will then be to discover not so much that Christ is a man because He is like us, but that we are genuinely human the more we find and live to the full our likeness to Him, our truth.
So, we do not know what this mystery is. Jesus does not dwell too much in asking the disciples what they have understood about Him, but He takes care to reveal it to them (Lk 9:22), telling what the fulfilment of His journey to Jerusalem will be. And the fulfilment of His mystery is Easter.
And this means that the humanity of Jesus is realized perfectly in His death and resurrection, it means that Easter is the meaning of everything, it is Easter that enlightens everything else.
This is why Luke represents the life of Jesus as a journey to Jerusalem, a journey to Easter. Each step of our life has meaning if it is on the way to Easter, if it brings us closer to that mystery.
A life without Easter does not reach its fulness.
For this reason, in part three of today’s passage, Jesus does not hesitate to say that a life without Easter is a life lost (Lk 9:24).
Paradoxically, a man can have all the rest, the entire world (Lk 9:25), but if he does not pass through Easter, his life has no meaning.
The life of the Christian, like that of Jesus, is intimately tied to the cross, it is not understood in its sense of suffering, but rather of preference: the cross is that way of living which in every choice prefers to love the other, by denying one’s self.
And here an emphasis is important: it is to make a distinction between denyingand losing ourselves.
Denying ourselves implies the free choice of one who gives himself; and doing this, he rises to the new life of the redeemed, because the cross is strictly connected to the resurrection, it is its door to it.
But if we choose instead not to deny ourselves not to give ourselves, we remain in some ways on this side of life, we never access it, we remain outside, closed in our small existence without love; and therefore lost.