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Daily Devotional for August 9

August 9                                                           Mark 8:34-9:1

As followers of Jesus, we sometimes believe that our call has
been to a life of joy, peace, and happiness. Indeed, there are
times when these things are in the forefront of our experience
as Christians. Yet the fundamental call to follow Jesus comes
with the assurance that there will also be times in our lives
which could hardly be described as either peaceful or joyful.

In today's reading from Mark's Gospel, we hear Jesus calling
us to something unsettling and disquieting: "Take up your
cross and follow me." Surely the original hearers of these
words must have been shocked at this summons. For us, these
words have lost their startling impact because of the familiarity
born of repetition, but the meaning of Jesus' words is clear:
The call of Jesus is an invitation to us to live our lives with
such faithfulness to Christ's vision of life that we are willing,
if called, to be seen as criminals sentenced to the death penalty.

This was, in fact, the appalling reality of Jesus' own death.
Jesus' commitment to follow the truth of God was embodied
in a life of compassionate empowering of others which so
threatened the status quo of that society that he was accused
of treason.

In a similar way, our call to faith is a mandate to resist the
acceptance of cultural values which minimize and dehumanize
our own lives and the lives of others. Our call requires that
we ourselves, by taking unequivocal stands in support of justice
and compassion, work actively toward empowering ourselves
and others. Ours is a revolutionary call to transform human
society so that it becomes the realm of God, a transformation
for which Jesus taught us to pray.

This call to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus has far-
reaching implications. Let us pray for the strength and courage
to follow the path of Christ in justice and integrity.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989


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