IN STEP WITH JESUS


Memorial of Saint Clare, VirginLectionary: 411
Reading 1 DT 4:32-40
Moses said to the people:

“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,

ever since God created man upon the earth;

ask from one end of the sky to the other:

Did anything so great ever happen before?

Was it ever heard of? 

Did a people ever hear the voice of God

speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?

Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself

from the midst of another nation,

by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,

with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,

all of which the LORD, your God,

did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

All this you were allowed to see 

that you might know the LORD is God and there is no other.

Out of the heavens he let you hear his voice to discipline you;

on earth he let you see his great fire,

and you heard him speaking out of the fire.

For love of your fathers he chose their descendants

and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power,

driving out of your way nations greater and mightier than you,

so as to bring you in

and to make their land your heritage, as it is today.

This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart,

that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below,

and that there is no other.

You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today,

that you and your children after you may prosper,

and that you may have long life on the land

which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 AND 21
R. (12a) I remember the deeds of the Lord.

I remember the deeds of the LORD;

yes, I remember your wonders of old. 

And I meditate on your works;

your exploits I ponder.

R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.

O God, your way is holy;

what great god is there like our God?

You are the God who works wonders;

among the peoples you have made known your power.

R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.

With your strong arm you redeemed your people,

the sons of Jacob and Joseph.

You led your people like a flock

under the care of Moses and Aaron.

R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.

Alleluia MT 5:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness;

for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 16:24-28
Jesus said to his disciples,

“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 will find it.

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world

and forfeit his life?

Or what can one give in exchange for his life?

For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,

and then he will repay each according to his conduct.

Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here

who will not taste death

until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
REFLECTION: IN STEP WITH JESUS

“Jesus then said to His disciples, ‘If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in My footsteps.’ ” –Matthew 16:24
When I was a boy, my friends and I often played a winter game in the snow. The leader would walk across a snowy field. The rest of us had to place our feet exactly into the leader’s footprints without disturbing any of the surrounding snow. The one who followed the footprints most exactly was the winner.
Discipleship is much like that game. We are called to “follow in [Jesus’] footsteps” as precisely as possible (Mt 16:24). We go where Jesus goes and do what He does. Jesus goes to Calvary and His steps lead to the cross; we “take up” our cross (Mt 16:24) and go there too. Jesus denies Himself and washes the feet of those who will betray and abandon Him (Jn 13:4ff); likewise, we deny ourselves (Mt 16:24) and forgive and serve those who hurt us. Jesus prays long into the night (Mk 6:46ff); we are challenged to do that too.
A funny thing about that childhood game: when I followed the steps of the leader exactly, my feet didn’t get cold because the leader had packed down the snow. If I messed up my steps, I got snow down my boots and I had cold feet. Discipleship is like that also. We only get “cold feet” about following Jesus when we get out of step in following Him. If we follow directly in His steps, we are protected and strengthened for that next step of discipleship. Jesus says: “Follow in My footsteps” (Mt 16:24).
PRAYER: Prayer: Father, I will “fix [my] eyes on Jesus” (Heb 3:1) forever.

PROMISE: Promise: “You must keep His statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper.” –Dt 4:40

PRAISE: Praise: St. Clare expressed her love for God by patiently bearing illness, doing penance, offering prayers, and remaining devoted to her sisters and her town.

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