FRIDAY OF THE EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Nahum 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7


Look! On the mountains the feet of one

who brings good tidings,

who proclaims peace!

Celebrate your festivals, O Judah,

fulfill your vows,

for never again shall the wicked invade you;

they are utterly cut off.

For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob,

as well as the majesty of Israel,

though ravagers have ravaged them

and ruined their branches.

Ah! City of bloodshed,

utterly deceitful, full of booty—

no end to the plunder!

The crack of whip and rumble of wheel,

galloping horse and bounding chariot!

Horsemen charging,

flashing sword and glittering spear,

piles of dead,

heaps of corpses,

dead bodies without end—

they stumble over the bodies!

I will throw filth at you

and treat you with contempt,

and make you a spectacle.

Then all who see you will shrink from you and say,

“Nineveh is devastated; who will bemoan her?”

Where shall I seek comforters for you?

Deuteronomy 32: 35CD-36AB, 39

The time when their foot shall slip;

because the day of their calamity is at hand,

their doom comes swiftly.

Indeed the Lord will vindicate his people,

have compassion on his servants.

See now that I, even I, am he;

there is no god besides me.

I kill and I make alive;

I wound and I heal;

and no one can deliver from my hand.

When I whet my flashing sword,

and my hand takes hold on judgment;

I will take vengeance on my adversaries,

and will repay those who hate me.

Matthew 16:24-28

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

(NRSVCE)


Meditation


The gospel message reminds us that God is going to pay us or repay us for what we have done in this life. Some of his followers will even see the coming of the Kingdom before they die. We don't like to think about punishment for our sins, nor do we want to look at evil. We are naturally reluctant to identify it in ourselves. None of us want to see our sins. Even God looks away from sin. But when we bury our shame we miss the opportunities we have to heal from it. When Jesus invites us to lay down our lives and take up our cross, He is inviting us to lay down the burdens, the sins, and pains of this world, and die to ourselves and our flesh. When we do this, and embrace the cross, we follow Jesus into the resurrection. Jesus doesn’t leave us in sin, but gives new life instead.


Today, consider if you are turning a blind eye to evil. It may be that you want to disconnect from the troubles in our society that feel beyond your control. Or you may be running from admitting that there is a need for repentance in your own life. But instead of turning away, turn to the mercy of Jesus. He longs to cleanse us of our guilt and call us into action to bring His healing to those around us. Today, take up the cross, and follow Jesus into new life.

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