One of the most important commandments, especially being the first, is “I am your God; you shall not have any strange gods before me.” Within the first reading DT 30:15-20, Moses addresses the people of Israel, saying that they only have one God, and they should not succumb to lesser gods. By keeping the first commandment the people of Israel, as well as those of us today, will thrive and prosper. God will bless the land upon which they will occupy. But, if we rebuke God, and present ourselves upon lesser gods, which ever they may be (false gods, money, sports, pleasure, pride, etc.), we will surly perish. If we do not want to incur God’s wrath from taking part in activities which would deny Him, we must first learn to recognize Him as our heavenly Father and Lord. He promised to protect us through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Within the gospel reading, Jesus says that by following Him, we must be willing to carry our own crosses in His name. “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Jesus tells us that how we must follow Him with a “Paradox.” By following the Son of God, we must be willing to dent ourselves. If we want to save our lives, we have to give them up. If we lose our lives for His sake, we will save them. Jesus asks this question, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” He is trying to tell us that if we are truly willing to give ourselves up to God, we will find an even greater gift; Gods heavenly grace.