28  JUNE 2020 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


“The challenge of our Christian lives”

Dr. Karl Menniger is a world-known psychiatrist. In one of his conferences, he was asked what advice he would give to someone who was very close to having a nervous breakdown.

He answered, “I would advise that person to leave his house and visit a hospital or visit a slum area.” He added, “when that person sees people with much bigger problems than his own, he will forget his problems or his problems will be greatly reduced.” He continued saying, “if he attempts to be of help and comfort those people, he or she will become a new person.”

My brothers and sisters, perhaps this is what Jesus meant in today’s Gospel when He said, “He who seeks only his own life will lose it, whereas he who loses his own life will gain it.”

Meaning to say, “the person who loses himself in ministering to people in greater need, will find fulfillment in taking the focus off himself.”

According to one theologian, “It is a paradox. In taking our minds off ourselves and in giving attention to others, we discover our better selves.”

And this is the challenge of our Christian lives.

Even the twelve Apostles of Jesus, they were all focused at giving their whole lives to the whole world so that Christianity will be made known throughout the ends of the earth.

Let us think about those 50 years after Jesus’ death and what it must been like for Jesus’ disciples.

Before the last disciple died, their efforts had brought 500,000 men, women, and children into the ranks of the church. But what they had to suffer in order to accomplish this task is seldom discussed.

We like the outcome of their discipleship but we don’t want to hear the cost of discipleship.

So for the record, here is the cost:

History tells us…

1.   Saint John died of extreme old age exiled to the island of Patmos.
2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.
3. Saint Peter was crucified; head downward, during the persecution of Nero.
4. Saint Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, a Grecian Colony.
5. Saint James, the younger, son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.
6. Saint Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.
7. Saint James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem.
8. Saint Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the East Indies.
9. Saint Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis.
10. Saint Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.
11. Saint Simon died on a cross in Persia (what we now call Iran.)
12. Saint Matthew was first stoned and then beheaded.

We might ask, ‘Why did the Apostles choose to die this way?’

The answer is found in the words of Apostle Paul. He said, “they were
held captive by the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.”

It is Paul’s way of saying they were slaves to Christ.

Therefore, Christianity is all about sacrifice.

Let us always remember this: “Sacrifice is a sign of mature commitment.”