Mark 8: 34-9: 1;
Gal. 2: 16-20
In the latest reading dedicated to the Cross, Christ says: “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy Angels.”
For the first time, people experienced the feeling of shame when they violated God’s commandment by eating the forbidden fruit. “At that moment the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves and made themselves aprons” (Genesis 3: 7). As soon as they turned away from God, people immediately felt as if they had lost some cover. They were ready to sink into the earth feeling naked and unprotected both in front of each other and before God. That was similar to the feeling of someone who is caught and exposed.
He who is ashamed feels so because he still recognizes the laws observed by those around him. But there are also those about which the Prophet spoke: “Are they ashamed of the abomination they have committed? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. ”(Jer. 6:15).
There are also cases when a person trying to live according to the commandments of Christ is surrounded by those who not only do the opposite, “but also approve of those who do” (Rom. 1:32). Everyone has an instinct of universal human brotherhood, a desire to have common ground and unity with everyone else. In fact, if I am only a Christian intellectually, then contact with a sinful, adulterous world can be very depressing. As the poet says, “the theory is dry, while the tree of life is blooming”. Life is in full swing, and here I am with my foolishness of the Cross and “fairy tales” about the Resurrection! And then I look at what’s behind me and I see our church life whose “outward appearances” are very vulnerable to criticism if you look at them cautiously from the outside. The next thing I feel is a secret envy of those who live simply and cheerfully; and also shame, both for my faith and for my socially unsettled brothers. Suddenly it’s a shame to do good, it’s a shame to be chaste, and it’s a shame to be honest… That is to say that I am not only outwardly submitting to the world, but my conscience also recognizes its rightness.
Realizing the danger of such shame, the Lord did not confine himself to words. He instantly promised: “Truly I say to you, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death, as they will already see the Kingdom of God, which has come in power.” Soon He made some of the apostles witnesses of His Transfiguration, so that they could see with their own eyes the difference between real and visionary; and so that they could exclaim: “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” (Matthew 17: 4)Here, and nowhere else.
Being ashamed of the Cross of Christ, just like being ashamed of your poverty, your relatives, your appearance or your age, means being ashamed of the One Who created you or allowed you to become whatever you are knowing precisely the state needed for your salvation.
May God grant us the shame that works in our favour, not the enemy’s. May we be ashamed of praise, like a thief who has stolen praise from the Lord; may we also be ashamed of our “wise” theological speeches, feeling their inadequacy in our life. And instead of turning us away from confession, may that shame for our transgressions not allow us to return to the sins already confessed and once forsaken.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds