MEDITATION TIP —23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 4, 2022

“No one can be my disciple unless he takes up his cross and follows me.” (Luke 14:27)

 These are tough Gospel words for today. Each one of us has some kind of cross, large or small, visible or invisible. I have my own cross, too, and not to contradict Jesus, but I do not want to live with a cross. I want to find meaning in my cross. I don’t want to think of the cross as a cross, but I want to find in it a big clue to living. The big clue to getting over the cross is to find meaning in the cross.

 Viktor Frankl, a Jewish philosopher and psychiatrist who experienced Auschwitz, described a young man who was interned there. He had a mother who had been separated from him, and he did not know where she was at the moment. He prayed daily to God that if he should die here, he would give the years he was supposed to live to his mother, whom he did not know where she was, and so he found meaning in his suffering. This is how he survived the concentration camps from which he was finally liberated.

 A Japanese who had met Viktor Frankl while he was still living was told by him: “Every person has an Auschwitz (cross) in his heart. You may be disappointed in life, but life is not disappointed in you. As long as there is someone or something waiting for you, you can survive and realize your self.”

 There is a saying, “Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend.” It does not refer to just people. If we find meaning in the suffering and crosses that were our enemies in the past, and through that we find meaning in living life, then the crosses that were once our enemies will now be there for us as friends.

      (Father Akabae)