Crowning the half-way point of our Great Lenten Journey is the Sunday of the Cross, reminding us not only of our journey’s end, but inviting us to a life like nothing we have ever expected. The life of the Cross for Christians is a life of struggle and suffering, but it is a life of choice.
Loud and clear in today’s Gospel (you can read it below) we hear that this life is an invitation by Christ rather than a life of obligation. “If anyone wishes to come after me…” Do you wish? Christ will never force you to follow Him, but if you choose to follow Him, know that you are choosing a life of the Cross.
Our Great Lenten Journey, this year more than ever with the Coronavirus (COVID19) situation, focuses our attention on learning to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Our fasting, and praying and taking care of others, is all meant to learn one basic truth. It isn’t about us.
Once we have learned that truth, then and only then, will be able to take up our cross and willingly embrace the Christian life of struggle and suffering. Christ chose His Cross and we were blessed. When we choose our cross, we will be blessed.
The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." – Mark 8.34-9.1