Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 18.02.2022

James 2:14-24, 26

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (see 1b) Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever. Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.

R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.

R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

ALLELUIA
John 15:15b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

HOLY GOSPEL: Mark 8:34–9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? 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 with the holy angels.”

He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

The Gospel of the Lord. 🙏
REFLECTION: THE TRUE DEPTHS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)


The first most fundamental question posed to us through this Scripture is this: Do you wish to come after Jesus? Unless this question is answered first, the rest of what Jesus says will have no effect upon us. So let’s look at that question.

Intellectually speaking, everyone reading this has most likely answered that question in the affirmative numerous times. Each time you go to Mass, spend time praying, or read the Scriptures you are, in one way or another, saying, “Yes, I want to come after You, Lord.” Most likely, we have all even said specific prayers by which we make the conscious choice to follow Christ. But we should see much more than the need to simply make an intellectual choice in this passage.

The phrase, “Whoever wishes” seems to reveal even more than a decision, it also reveals a desire. It reveals that a desire to follow Christ is not usually the first step in the process, it’s the last. The first step is to come to an understanding of the truth and to profess it. Secondly, we must will what we have chosen. Thirdly, once grace begins to work on us to transform us, we begin to “wish” or “desire” all that Jesus wants of us and all that He calls us to embrace.

So what will we find ourselves “wishing” if we are following Christ with our whole being? We will find that we desire what Jesus reveals next; namely, we will desire to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Do you desire that?

It’s easy to desire to love and be loved, at least on a more superficial level. Hopefully, we all enjoy kind and caring words, both giving them and receiving them. But the true love of Christ, following His example of love, requires a desire for selfless and sacrificial love. This is the perfection of love! We are called, ultimately, to love without even considering the cost or the demands that Christian love places upon us. Or, to take it even further, we are called to love even that which is painful and difficult when it is the will of God. His will most certainly includes acts of sacrifice. True love, ultimately, desires even this.

Reflect, today, upon this most fundamental question. Do you wish to come after Jesus and, therefore, are you ready and willing to embrace and even desire all that this entails? You make the choice; God will place the desire in your heart. Say “Yes” to Him and His Cross. In the end, you will be eternally grateful you did.

PRAYER:
My sacrificial Lord, I want to desire Your Cross. I want to come to a level of love through which I desire to give myself completely to You, without counting the cost, and even desiring those acts which require great sacrifice. You embraced Your Cross without reserve out of love for us. Help me to imitate Your perfect example. Jesus, I trust in You.https://masvingomirror.com

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