“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Like many, I have heard this verse so many times at mass, it just flew right by me. But recently, in prayer I started pondering on these words and the magnitude of what the Lord has been asking me to do. The fact is friends, that Christ, before he went and picked up his own cross, invited us to carry our weight along with him. This is easier said than done of course, but the beauty is that we know the end. We know we have already won, yet it is the suffering and the downs of life that fully strengthen us.
On our journey towards heaven, we each carry a cross and we each have moments when we fall, just as Jesus did. Moments when we need someone to carry the load for us, just as Simon did for Jesus. We need someone to be bold and come forward to wipe our faces, just as Veronica did. The beauty of our journey is that we are never carrying that cross alone. We have the opportunity to give our burden to Christ who walks beside us always.
The week of Palm Sunday has always been one of joy, based on the fact that Lent is almost over and I can eat meat once again, but this year it has been very different. I not only wonder, who I am in the story of Christ’s journey to the cross, but also at my journey towards him. Where am I? Am I still on the ground because I fell, more than once? Am I going through persecution and being scourged? Am I looking towards all those who hate me and asking God to forgive them, just as Jesus did? The beauty brothers and sisters, is that we are victors, not victims! We belong to a God that is mightier than life itself and that has overcome death. So, as we enter the fifth week of Lent, do not lose heart. Stay steadfast and carry your cross with joy. For the heavier the cross, the more glorious the crown.
In peace, Marlys