June 22, 2020
Those who do not take up their cross and follow me cannot be my disciples (Mt. 10: 38). This is quite a strong statement made by Jesus. He was not trying to minimalize or trivialize the demands necessary to be his followers. We are invited to say “yes” or we also have the freedom to say “no.” There is no “in between.”
What are crosses? They were used as instruments of torture and death during the time of the Roman Empire for the Jews that were under Roman law. Jesus uses this terminology in speaking about the “small death” experiences that we face daily. This might be an illness that robs us of our productive lives; a hurt relationship that has left us betrayed; loss of loved ones; fear of being rejected or vulnerable; sacrifices of selfish behaviours or materials for personal gain.
Whatever the crosses are in our lives, we are called to unite ourselves to that of Jesus, who embraced the ultimate cross. He embraced it to show us that he understands us and is close to us and has compassion on us when we feel overwhelmed by our crosses. When we focus on the Cross of Christ in prayer, may it move our hearts to not run away from our crosses through addiction, fear or despair but to turn our hearts toward Jesus. He reminds us that his Cross was transformed into New Life. This is OUR story now. By uniting ourselves to the Cross of Christ, transformation is possible!