In the first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the Israelites of the mighty deeds God had done for them, especially in their liberation from slavery in Egypt. Israel’s God is the only living and rue God among all the so-called gods of the nations and peoples around them. And this living god had favored, loved and protected them. And Israel is then especially favored in having a covenant with this true God.
In the Gospel reading Our Lord teaches his followers about the true meaning of discipleship and of the following of Christ. A follower and a disciple must be like the Master: “If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”
In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius puts the following of Christ the leader and King this way: “To all His summons goes forth, and to each one in particular He addressed the words: ‘It is my will to conquer the whole world and all my enemies, and his to enter into the glory of my Father.
Therefore, whoever wishes to join me in this enterprise must be willing to labour with me, that by following me in suffering, he may follow me in glory.’ ”
Indeed, this is the paradox of the following of Christ and of the Paschal mystery: “For whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will find it.”