Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the first reading today, there is a spirit of anticipation, as Zechariah prophesies about the future of the House of David. In the second reading, there is again a sense of what is to come through the faith, with a special emphasis on the diversity of those who are welcome and part of the family of God. Then, in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not only to keep silent about their knowledge that He is the Son of God, but also that He will endure death and be raised up. This had to have created a great sense of anxiety about the future for the disciples. They realize they are on a journey with someone who will suffer greatly, which means they will likely suffer in some way as well. However, this gospel concludes with one of my favorite verses, “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” (Lk 9:23-24). It is in this way we can come to more fully understand how Jesus wants us to love Him and each other: without selfish regard, and with our whole hearts, minds, and souls. And then He promises that if we “take up [our] cross daily” we will receive the ultimate reward, which is eternal life.
In my own life, there have been a few moments where I have felt like the disciples: shown the pain that can and will manifest itself in life, but also shown the great love, joy, and hope that exists in our lives. One of these moments was during my time on an immersion trip to El Salvador. As we sat as a large group, USD students and our host families alike (like was described in the second reading), we heard witnesses of the suffering experienced during their civil war, and the heartbreak that came with every lost family member, every broken town. But like we see in the readings today, there was also a tone of hopeful anticipation, hopeful expectation, that maybe their children would be exposed to a better life and find a way to heal from the tragedy that plagued their country. In this way, I heard Jesus’ call to me to “lose my life” in the service of others. Hearing the Salvadorans’ stories was the Lord calling to me to walk in solidarity with both those in El Salvador and throughout the world A call to have an open heart and an open mind, and to do what I can, despite my own shortcomings, to follow Jesus’ example. And though this does bring a sense of anxiety, it also brings excitement and joy, as I look forward in anticipation to the future and all it holds.
-Mary Beth Putz '17