2020-08-3022nd Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

In today`s Gospel, Jesus offers us an incredible invitation. He says: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny his very self, take up his cross and follow me." What is even more incredible is that some people actually accepted that invitation. They gave up their jobs, their personal plans, so that they could walk with him.

Now, why would they do that? Why have so many over the centuries done that? There was no coercion involved. No one put a gun to their heads. The fact is that they were charmed by Jesus and his message. There was something about Jesus that made people willing to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow in his footsteps.

We are here today because we have fallen under that same charm of Jesus. We consider ourselves followers of Him. Sometimes we do not follow Jesus as closely as we know that we should but basically we try to do so. A good question to ask is, why do we try? Why do we choose to follow Christ?

His original followers saw him as an amazing person. His message and his way of life was far superior to anything that they had experienced before and they wanted to know his secret.

Part of the reason that we are here is because we too are fascinated by the life of Christ and yet Jesus was a man who lived a simple life. So simple, in fact, that he had none of the things that we often associate with the "good life." No house and very little money and yet Jesus has held many generations of people under his spell.

People followed him in the beginning and continue to follow him today because there is something in each one of us that wishes that we had the courage to deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow in his footsteps.

Jesus Christ spoke the truth. A typical response to his teaching was sheer amazement. People could hardly believe what they were hearing. They had listened to teachers before but never one like this one. They were amazed by him, not because he was eloquent or clever but because he understood life so clearly.

Call Jesus Christ impractical, call him whatever you want, there is still no escaping the fact that Jesus Christ had life figured out so much better than we do.

People accepted the message of Jesus because they knew and continue to know that He loves them. The impression of a caring Christ has prevailed throughout the centuries. People have celebrated it in art and literature and music. There is a children`s song that goes: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." We are here today because we know that Jesus loves us. And even when we doubt it, we still want to believe that it is true.

The invitation of Jesus in incredible. "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." Why would anyone do that or even try? The answer is threefold, as I`ve mentioned. We are drawn to Jesus Christ by the quality of His life, the authority of His message and the warmth of His love.

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