September 19 Gospel Reading

Mark 8:34 – 9:1

34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

St.John Chrysostom in his Homily 13 on Philippians said:

“Nothing is so incongruous in a Christian, and foreign to his character, as to seek ease and rest; and to be engrossed with the present life is foreign to our profession and enlistment. Your Master was crucified and do you seek ease? Your Master was pierced with nails, and do you live delicately? Do these things become a noble soldier? Wherefore Paul says, ‘Many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ.’ Since there were some who made a pretense of Christianity, yet lived in ease and luxury, and this is contrary to the Cross: therefore he thus spoke…the cross belongs to a soul at its post for the fight, longing to die, seeking nothing like ease…they are as it were enemies of the Cross. For they did love the Cross, they would strive to live the crucified life. Was not your Master hung upon the tree? Do thou otherwise imitate Him. Crucify yourself, though no one crucify you. Crucify yourself, not that you may slay yourself, God forbid, for that is a wicked thing, but as Paul said, ‘The world has been crucified unto me and I unto the world.’ (Gal.6:14) If you love your Master, die His death. Learn how great is the power of the Cross; how many good things it has achieved, and does still: how it is the safety of our life. Through it all things are done…you bear the Cross when you are at enmity with him, not simply when you seal yourself by it, but when you suffer the things belonging to the Cross. Christ thought fit to call our sufferings by the name of the Cross. As when he says, ‘Except a man take up his cross and follow me’ (Matt.16:24), i.e. except he be prepared to die.”

Jerome in his Letter 14 wrote:

“See how Peter left his net; (Matt.4:18-20) see how the publican rose from the receipt of custom. (Matt.9:9) In a moment he became an apostle. ‘The Son of man has no where to lay his head,’ (Matt.8:20) and do you plan wide porticos and spacious halls? If you look to inherit the good things of the world you can no longer be a joint-heir with Christ. (Rom.8:17)”

(The painting above is a fresco on the apse at San Leonardo, the Chiesa Parrochhiale di Provesano.)

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