Gospel Reading March 23rd
(Mark 8:34-38; 9:1)
Sunday of the Holy Cross
The Lord said: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (8:34).
What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Christ? Our cross is our conscience. In turn, our conscience is a receptacle of God’s word. If we listen to the word of God that knocks at our door, then we open the door. But if we ignore it, then Christ has no way of entering into our heart.
Our cross is a burden, just as Christ’s cross was a burden for Him. But it is also our source of salvation. If we refuse to lift up our cross, then we refuse to struggle. But why do we need to struggle? The answer can be understood by looking at life without Christ. Where would we be, what would be doing? If the answer is that we would be living in sin, then we should ask ourselves, “Do I want to be living in sin?” If the answer is yes, then we can stop there and everything becomes easy. We can sit back, put our feet up and enjoy the ‘good’ things this world has to offer. But if we answer with a “no”, then we must put some hard work into establishing a relationship with Christ.
We must make a decision about which master we wish to serve. Our hearts will tell us whether we should pick up our cross or leave it by the wayside.
The life of the Christian is not easy. How is it possible for the athlete to win the medal without breaking a sweat? The Kingdom of Heaven weighs more than all the medals in this world. But life is not a game or a race. The Christian needs no incentive. Christ asks us to love Him as He loves us, and if this is the case, then we can become like St Paul who was full of joy in his sufferings and be grateful to God for giving us a cross.
Source: February- March 2014 Lychnos Edition