The readings from this week’s Mass discuss God’s counsel, or advice, in several ways. The questions raised in the first reading can help us to reflect on how we observe God’s counsel in our own lives. We can look at who we are hanging out with, and the choices we are making every day and ask if they are bringing us closer to God or leading us farther away.
In the second reading, we hear from St. Paul, who describes how he worked to turn a former slave toward the Gospel. I like how at the end, Paul uses the word brother, instead of slave. Paul’s language reminds us how we are all brothers and sisters, and can all work toward living the Gospel. In the last line of the second reading, Paul says, “welcome him as you would me.” This part of the reading reminded me of Jesus’ lesson, “to love your neighbor as yourself.” That quote has always stood out to me, and I think that it is very important to love your neighbor as yourself. It is a lesson that we hear over and over again in Mass readings, even if those words are not specifically used, as in this week’s letter from Paul.
Finally, the Gospel begins by talking about a crowd following Jesus. When Jesus speaks to his group of people, I think that He makes some really good points that we can reflect on in our own lives. The point in this reading that that stood out the most to me was when Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” I think that this stood out to me because it made me realize that each and every one of us is carrying our own cross. We all have different burdens, but each of us have our own things going on in our own lives, and I think that sometimes we can forget that others around us are struggling too. I like how Jesus pointed this out because, since He carried His own cross for us, each of us should be carrying our own too, and maintaining faith, following His example. Our crosses can sometimes get in the way of seeking Jesus’ counsel, but in the end, we should try to let Jesus’ cross guide us to be more like him and serve others. Jesus also says in the Gospel, “anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” This also stood out to me because I think in today’s world people can get caught up with their possessions and materialistic things. We can get so consumed by things we don’t actually need; I think that we should focus more on Jesus’ cross and the reason behind why He is carrying it for us in the first place.
The theme of God’s advice and what we do with it can be a wake-up call for some of us to see if we are carrying our cross properly and following in His footsteps.