The WORD in Other Words by Fr Normal Labutan SVD (Tanzania, Africa)
Thursday After Ash Wednesday
Our reflection leads us to our everyday struggle for holiness which is about denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily and following Him. Jesus is the epitome of radical obedience to his heavenly Father. He took up the cross with great love and sacrifice. In turn, he invites his followers to take up their crosses daily with perseverance, hope and compassion. Every humble step counts in following Jesus!
Jesus’ invitation echoes to every disciple. Before I was sent to my mission destination, the Divine Word Mission Institute of Mission Studies (DWIMS) in Tagaytay organized a one month-seminar for the out-going missionaries. I selected this passage “…take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk. 9:23) which I believe has helped me a lot in my mission endeavor in East Africa. I have been here four years now working for [with] the people. I am happy and blessed. It is my daily prayer that I may follow him faithfully through taking up my cross with love and perseverance.
A missionary of the Divine Word is called to have joy in everything. There is joy in taking up the cross. It is not only the weight that matters. It is rather, the daily struggle in following Jesus. I have encountered people in my parish with heavy crosses in their respective families or communities. But still, life must go on. I see their commitment and joy in participating in the church’s sacraments.
In this season of lent, let us listen attentively to Jesus’ invitation… “take up your cross daily and follow me.” May we never tire of taking up our cross daily for in the cross, we are made friends with Jesus. –
(Fr. Norman P. Labutan SVD is a Filipino SVD Missionary to Kenya-Tanzania Province, East Africa)
Source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020