“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

Today’s reading wraps up chapter 8 of Mark and dips a toe into chapter 9 (Mk 8:34-9:1).  Here Jesus emphasizes the importance of letting nothing stand in one’s way from fully embracing the Gospel, emphasizing the eternal consequences of not being willing to deny oneself, suffer, and even die for Jesus.  He goes on to say: “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory.” (v. 36)  Hearing the words “faithless and sinful generation,” many of us would likely nod our heads in agreement and then quickly shake our heads in sadness as we consider our culture today.  Not so fast.  Jesus is speaking here to His hearers (that includes us — the Word is timeless) as individuals.  Are we denying ourselves anything?  Are we really willing to suffer, even die, for Jesus?  Are we proud of Jesus and willing to live according to His teachings and proclaim Him according to His command (cf. Mt 28:19).  The radical change we desire in society begins at home: “Physician, heal thyself.” (Lk 4:23)  Reforming our own lives and families (“the domestic church” — Lumen Gentium, 11) is the first step in transforming our world.  Be a shining example, not a light hidden under a bushel. (cf. Mt 5:14–15, Mk 4:21–25 and Lk 8:16–18)

 

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