Sunday’s Gospel is that very unfavorite saying of Jesus about taking up one’s cross and following him. As I move through life, those words take on a different perspective than they did many years ago. That’s the beauty of Scripture: though the words are always the same, they touch us in different ways at different times in our life.
So too with the cross. For some, other people are crosses. For others, it may be a physical disability or personality defect. Maybe it’s a job or family situation. But more and more I am coming to see that the cross is more interior … it means coming to terms with the truth about myself, putting up with myself. It means acknowledging that I am who I am.
I am a creature, a very limited creature. Many dreams and hopes have gone by the wayside because I was too afraid to pursue them. I pray for closeness to Christ, but then go and do my own thing. I just plain don’t like other people, and don’t want to like them. I’d rather spend money than save it, and reap the consequences. I talk a good game and am full of advice for others, but bristle when corrected or criticized. I think I’m indispensible, and the cat’s meow, but inside wonder what people really think of me. The outside air of confidence masks the inner fear of inadequacy. What a mass of contradictions we are!!!!
In other words, we avoid with all our powers of thinking and imagining and acting just what it means to be a creature of God. There is the cross we carry. We want so bad not to be creatures, but little gods, masters of our own life and turf … and we know we aren’t. We hobble after the Master. But fortunately, he understands, and fortunately, he makes up for what is lacking in us.
So when Jesus talks about losing our life in order to save it, he’s encouraging us to accept who we really are instead of hanging onto that false image of ourselves we’ve created.
Much love … many prayers!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.