Josemaría Escrivá Obras
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Christ is passing by > Christ's death is the christians's life > Number 97
97

So, in thinking about Christ's death, we find ourselves invited to take a good hard look at our everyday activities and to be serious about the faith we profess. Holy Week cannot be a kind of "religious interlude"; time taken out from a life which is completely caught up in human affairs. It must be an opportunity to understand more profoundly the love of God, so that we'll be able to show that love to other people through what we do and say.

But for this our Lord lays down certain conditions. We cannot ignore his words that St Luke recorded for us: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." They are hard words. True, "hate" in English does not exactly express what Jesus meant. Yet he did put it very strongly, because he doesn't just mean "love less," as some people interpret it in an attempt to tone down the sentence. The force behind these vigorous words does not lie in their implying a negative or pitiless attitude, for the Jesus who is speaking here is none other than that Jesus who commands us to love others as we love ourselves and who gives up his life for mankind. These words indicate simply that we cannot be half-hearted when it comes to loving God. Christ's words could be translated as "love more, love better," in the sense that a selfish or partial love is not enough — we have to love others with the love of God.

That's the key. Jesus says we must also hate our life, our very soul — that is what our Lord is asking of us. If we are superficial, if the only thing we care about is our own personal well-being, if we try to make other people, and even the world, revolve around our own little self, we have no right to call ourselves Christians or think we are disciples of Christ. We have to give ourselves really, not just in word but in deed and truth. Love for God invites us to take up the cross and feel on our own shoulders the weight of humanity. It leads us to fulfil the clear and loving plans of the Father's will in all the circumstances of our work and life. In the passage we've just read Jesus goes on to say: "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

Let us accept God's will and be firmly resolved to build all our life in accordance with what our faith teaches and demands. We can be sure this involves struggle and suffering and pain, but if we really keep faith we will never feel we have lost God's favour. In the midst of sorrow and even calumny, we will experience a happiness which moves us to love others, to help them share in our supernatural joy.

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