27 June – Memorial for St. Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and Doctor of the Church
Cyril (376–444) was the nephew of Theophilus the Patriarch. He was a monk and a priest who became Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt in 412, and later the Patriarch of Alexandria. He suppressed the Novatians. He worked at the Council of Ephesus. He fought against Nestorius who taught the heresy that there were two persons in Christ.
He was a catechetical writer, and wrote a book opposing Julian the Apostate. He is a Greek Father of the Church, and is a Doctor of the Church.
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The Lord says this:
For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Israel
I have made my decree and will not relent:
because they have sold the virtuous man for silver
and the poor man for a pair of sandals,
because they trample on the heads of ordinary people
and push the poor out of their path,
because father and son have both resorted to the same girl,
profaning my holy name,
because they stretch themselves out by the side of every altar
on clothes acquired as pledges,
and drink the wine of the people they have fined
in the house of their god…
Yet it was I who overthrew the Amorites when they attacked,
men tall as cedars and strong as oaks,
I who destroyed them,
both fruit above ground
and root below.
It was I who brought you out of the land of Egypt
and for forty years led you through the wilderness
to take possession of the Amorite’s country.
See then how I am going to crush you into the ground
as the threshing-sledge crushes when clogged by straw;
flight will not save even the swift,
the strong man will find his strength useless,
the mighty man will be powerless to save himself.
The bowman will not stand his ground,
the fast runner will not escape,
the horseman will not save himself,
the bravest warriors will run away naked that day.
It is the Lord who speaks.
When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side. One of the scribes then came up and said to him, ‘Master, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, ‘Sir, let me go and bury my father first.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead.’
Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.
In the corporate world, the concept of ‘cost-benefit analysis’ is a standard examination to evaluate whether to undertake a project or not. The principle entails figuring out what are the positives and negatives of a particular decision, or course of action. Should the benefits outweigh the costs – then we’re given the go-ahead to advance with the project.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus, in several instances, warns prospective disciples of the cost of following Him. Following Him means giving up on our old ways and prioritizing Him over others (especially ourselves). It could mean dropping everything and going places where we might not want to go. It could mean losing relationships, giving up our material possessions or even our lives.
The difficulty with the ‘cost-benefit analysis’ here is that our rewards for following Christ may seem like a lifetime away and can be unquantifiable (in worldly terms). Yet, the costs can be obvious and immediate. Those who have not done their proper due diligence will end up like the seeds that are planted on the rocky soil. These seeds can never grow into healthy plants without the spiritual nourishment they acquire through their deep roots.
As Jesus explains, there will be trials and rewards when we follow Him. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
Brothers and sisters, Jesus promises multiples in return when we take up our cross and surrender our lives to Him. Let us factor that into our analysis.
(Today’s Oxygen by Steven Su)
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we pray for diligence to study Your Word. May we have a constant passion to read the Bible and be reminded of the benefits, as well as the costs, of following You.
Thanksgiving – Lord, we give thanks to You presenting us situations You know we can handle. May we call on the name of Jesus to help us through each challenge and be witness to Your glory.