Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Growing up I always enjoyed a good game of “Follow the Leader”. Didn’t you? Jumping up-and-down, making animal noises, waving our hands from side to side pretending we were flying a plane, spinning around then up-and-down again. It was a great time, especially if we had a good leader. The challenge often came when the line got so long that it was difficult to see or hear the leader; you had to rely on the person in front of you. Sometimes there was dissension among the ranks; others felt they can do a better job at leading which caused division ultimately ending the game. Are you a good leader? Are you leading others in the Way of the Lord? If I followed you, would you lead me to Jesus? Or are you okay with being a follower? Are you a good one? Is the person you are following leading you to the Father? Will they bring you into the Kingdom of God? If I couldn’t see or hear Jesus, would I be able to follow you and meet him? Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He shows us the right way, the only way to get to heaven – he leads us to the Father. Jesus invites all who wish to come after him to consider the path that makes it easier to follow him. Denying one’s self: in a culture that would have us believe that it is all about us; we are the most important person in the world; we are number one – denying ourselves is probably the most difficult. But if we allow the Holy Spirit to help us, we can reorder our life’s and make Jesus our priority by placing the needs of others ahead of ours. Take up your cross: a cross is a heavy and difficult burden to bear. But we forget that Jesus already carried our cross. If you ask him, he will continue to help you to carry your cross. Follow him: we are at times so blinded by worldly things; so distracted by so much noise. Jesus invites you to go to that little room in your heart; close the door, close your eyes, open your ears, open your heart and you will encounter the One leading you to paradise.