Mark 8: 34-9:1
He called 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. And he said to them, "Truly I tell
you, there are some standing here who will not
taste death until they see that the kingdom of God
has come with power."
Introductory Prayer: O Lord, this
day you wish to take away from me any
false ideas about what it means to be your friend.
I believe that by attending to the sacred message
of your cross, I can learn authentic love of you
and your Kingdom. In your cross is an example
of every virtue I need and every goal I
wish to attain. In the cross there is hope, an
all-powerful hope that transcends every human disappointment. I wish
to carry my cross with joy as a token
of my love and gratitude to you.
Lord, make the cross a singular place of friendship
with you in my life.
1. Becoming Through Suffering: Most people
move through the day with self-preservation and self-interest influencing
their decision-making. Choosing a harder road can still be
a self-interested affair, if people seek their own advancement in
life. Christ’s message is not simply about a work
ethic—sweating, toiling and sacrificing to be successful. The self-denial
that is asked of a Christian goes deeper than
that. It must reach into that place where we try
to preserve ourselves and our most cherished desires. Nothing
teaches Christ’s lesson better than the crosses that have
surprised us, the crosses that were not planned or
wanted. Every step with these crosses on our backs is
true following, true loving, true salvation without delusion or
2. Following or Leading?One day Mother Teresa saw one of
her sisters headed out into the streets with a
long face. She called her over and said, “What did
Jesus say, to carry the cross in front of
Him or to follow Him?” The sister responded, smiling,
“To follow Him.” Mother then asked, “Why are you trying
to go ahead of Him?” (Mother Teresa: Come be
My Light, p.221) “The cross of Christ” is not
just the rightful assumption of the weight of a holy
life, it is also an attitude. The wrong attitude
can crush our spirits and make us suffer like
a pagan: alone. Humble faith reveals the One we follow,
who shows us the way, who sustains our hope,
and who leads us to profound Christian joy.
3. Sacrificial Love
and Life Are Inseparable: Seeing the Kingdom in
power is a consequence for those who suffer for Christ.
Our Lord guarantees this: Love will never be defeated
in this life or the next. Although they might
seem to have suffered in vain, many saints saw the
glory of the Lord in special moments during their
life and in abundance after they passed to heaven.
The incorrupt, the documented miracles of intercession, the great
movement of spirituality in the Church—all these attest that God
will never let love for him be separated from
the coming of his Kingdom in power.
Christ: Lord, bring my soul to the cross without
fear, trusting in its mysterious power to change me
and the world around me. I should not withdraw
from life when it wounds me. May I resolve in
every low moment, when Christ asks for more from
me, to live the resolution of Blessed Teresa of
Calcutta: “A hearty ‘Yes’ to God, and a big smile
for all” (Mother Teresa: Come be My Light, p.217).
Resolution: At night I will examine well
my attitudes towards difficulties and ensure that they reflect
the spirit of a true disciple.