Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Cross: A Sign of Victory Rather than Defeat

High above our Church stands a golden cross for all passersby to see. The cross, a long-time symbol of our Christian Faith is held high in honor of the victory that Christ accomplishes in our lives every day. “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8.34) With these words Jesus Christ challenges each of us to a higher standard of living than what the world has to offer. We have been given the freedom to choose life or death. He does not say just, “Take up your cross,” but “Whoever desires to come after Me…” He has created us with free will – the free will to choose to follow Him, or the to choose not to follow Him.

When Jesus took up His cross He defeated death once and for all so that we may live forever with Him. The cross becomes for us, as believers in Christ, a symbol of life rather than death. Christ’s victory was found in His resurrection AND death on the cross. Without the cross, Christ would not have died and if He had not died He would not have conquered death for all time. If we choose to use our free will to follow Christ, then we must follow Him into His death so that we too may live with Him.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s sake with save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8.35-36) Each time we choose to deny the world in exchange for Christ we gain our soul. What seems like death and suffering in this life is life and power in the kingdom of heaven. The best way for us to deny the world is through prayer, fasting and works of charity which is our Great Lenten Journey. Let us embrace Great Lent and deny ourselves and follow Christ!

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