“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” - St Francis of Assisi
Gospel Text: (MK 8:34-9:1)
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”
Contemporary society does not want to sacrifice never mind suffer.
However, let us recall the words of this Sunday's gospel passage: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9: 24).
We must be convinced that there is only one Jesus, and he is the crucified Jesus who rose from the dead. Christianity without the cross is not Christianity; only through the cross of Jesus have we gained salvation.
The meaning of suffering only makes sense when we contemplate Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead.
When we ask the question why, we need only look upon the crucifix. It is there that we will find the meaning of suffering and the exact reason why we too must carry our own cross.
Each of us has a cross to carry. We must all identify our crosses and carry them with patience, joy and love. Why should we complain about something that will be the means by which we will gain eternal life?
As Thomas a' Kempis reminds us, The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will -- above, below, without, or within -- you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.
If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one (The Imitation of Christ, 2:12).