MANILA, September 17, 2014—Do you want to follow Christ? Take up your cross!
Repeating Jesus’ word to his aspiring disciples in Luke 9:23, Marwil N. Llasos, a legally-trained Catholic preacher, shared, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
According to him, this brief verse sums up the meaning of Christian discipleship.
Speaking to some 200 participants of the Catechetical Conference organized by the Company of Saint Dominic (CSD) on Saturday, September 13—the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross—at Santa Catalina College in Manila, he stressed there is no perfect definition of being Christian other than to “live the life of Christ”.
In his talk titled “Christian vocation: Universal Call to Holiness”, Llasos, who is also a consecrated layman and Mariologist, pointed out that a Christian is one “whose very existence is defined by Christ”, and “whose very identity as a human person…is marked by Christ”.
“The Christian is one who carries his cross. You cannot be a Christian if you cannot carry your cross, because there’s no other way to follow Christ,” explained he.
Llasos said people who consider themselves Christian must be willing to take up the “Cross of Christ” in order for them also to be crucified like Jesus.
“But crucified in what sense?” he asked. By being crucified with Him!
Quoting St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians (6:14), Llasos said, “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
This crucifixion to the world, he emphasized, consists in abandoning the “values of the world”, particularly the ones perpetuated by popular media, and embracing the values of the Gospel.
He explained that a real Christian, as opposed to a merely nominal one, can claim to exist because of Christ and for Christ, and proudly tell the world that “without Christ I am nothing”.
Llasos reminded his audience that Christians who reject the Cross are not true Christians. (Raymond A. Sebastián)