February 18, Friday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: James 2:14-24; 26 & Mark 8:34-9:1
The gospel describes that Jesus challenges his disciples, who have chosen to follow him.
Jesus says: "If you want to follow me, deny yourself; take up your cross and follow me."
Jesus' remark contains two significant phrases: a call to self-denial, sacrifice, and suffering.
Self-denial is not a call to self-hatred or self-rejection; instead, it seeks Christ and His ways and glory above our own. As followers of Jesus, we are commanded to prioritize Him in all we do (Mark 10:17-22). We tend to prioritize ourselves and our desires.
When Jesus speaks of taking up one's cross, he refers to a command that would have been taken very literally. The cross was not a religious symbol for the initial audience; it was a tool of ruthless punishment. The exhortation to bear one's cross and follow Jesus is an invitation to pursue the path of suffering that leads to death. As disciples of Jesus, we must be prepared to give up all to follow him.
The verse reminds us that following Jesus requires us to prioritize him above all else. Putting Jesus first requires us to be willing to make sacrifices.
The reflective question is to think of your experience of self-denial and putting Jesus above everything. The passage reminds us to follow Jesus with a total commitment.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.