The Pastor’s Thoughts — July 2, 2023, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 29, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“Whoever does not take up his cross is not worthy of me.”

Jesus said to His apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Jesus is asking no more of His apostles than He was willing to give to them, all of Himself. Jesus willingly, lovingly gave His very life that His apostles and all who believe in Him would have eternal life. To receive eternal life, the apostles and all believers must give Jesus all of ourselves. He, who is the source of all life, must come first in our lives.

We must give all of ourselves to Jesus, who gave Himself completely for us, in His suffering and death, and gave Himself to us in the Eucharist – His Body and Blood. When we give ourselves to Jesus first, when we join our sufferings in this life to His, we will truly share in His resurrection and in His divine life.

When we love Jesus above all others and give ourselves completely to Him, then we share His great love with others to whom we show love and care by our actions. We truly act as Jesus’ disciples by the love we show one another, from the love we have for Jesus.

Our Lord calls us to truly be Christians by always putting Him first in our lives. Then, we become the instruments to put Him first in the lives of others by being “Christ” to them; that is, by loving others the way Christ loves us.

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