13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Glenna Smith, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Virgina, Bristow, VA
Today’s Gospel passage sheds some light on last Sunday’s command to “fear not” and to proclaim the message of Jesus in the light and from the rooftops. Among other things, this Sunday’s Gospel says, “…whoever does not take up [their] cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Only the One who was conceived, born, lived, suffered, was murdered, and rose for humanity really knows what is required to be worthy. This call and commitment we have taken up to be Christian is nothing to take lightly. Did we mean it when we renewed our Baptismal promises at Easter?
Before Love can strengthen us to “fear not,” Saint Benedict says we first have to come to the truth that God is God and we are not God. Among other things, he says in chapter 7 of his rule, that through humility we can arrive at that “…perfect love that casts out fear.” Then, our words and actions are no longer motivated to “escape hell” but are motivated by the “love of Christ.”
The words of Jesus, “be not afraid” and “fear not” are nothing less than a call to make real the Love of God by our lives. May that Love permeate every fiber of our being and strengthen us to do just that.
Sister Glenna Smith entered the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia in 1977 and has served her community and their ministries for 40+ years as teacher, prefect, camp director, counselor, principal and administrator, school psychologist, member of various boards, formation director, monastery coordinator, and subprioress. She was privileged to serve the Federation of Saint Scholastica as president from 2010-2014.