Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
James 2:14-24,26 + Mark 8:34—9:1
February 18, 2022
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
In the Gospel today we hear Jesus say, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Do you, who call yourselves Christians, hear what the Word made Flesh is saying to you? Or do you want to turn your back on the words spoken by Jesus Christ?
Christ died because death is the only way to destroy death’s power. On the Cross, Christ destroyed the power of death by dying Himself. When God Himself died, death split in two. Christ separated the death of the body from the death of the soul, so that the one would not inevitably follow the other. Christ didn’t die so that you wouldn’t have to. Christ died so that the death that you will inevitably face—the death of the body—will not be an eternal one: the death of the soul.
There are two types of death, the death of the body, and the death of the soul. One is much worse than the other. Many people spend a lot of time avoiding the one, but not the other, which is strange. This is strange because the death of the body is unavoidable, while the death of the soul is completely avoidable. The death they try so hard to avoid is the door that Christ has made the gateway to eternal life, while the death they don’t worry much about is a death that never ends: a death that is eternal.