What Does It Mean To Take Up His Cross?
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14: 25-33)
STOP! The words of today’s Gospel need to be understood rather than to be taken literally. The verse about hating one’s family and even life itself is a sharp pinprick of hyperbole meant to heighten our awareness of the single-minded commitment required of the one who would follow Jesus all the way that lies ahead. In this Gospel, “hatred” refers to whatever we cling to instead of God. Jesus is warning the crowds that following him means that they must detach themselves from the life they have known. He is trying to shock the crowds into some sort of understanding of what’s to come. Jesus knows that most of the crowds will not be able to follow him to the cross. Jesus knows that the messiah seekers and salvation hunters don’t really want the type of leader who is headed for a cross.
He is telling them, and He is telling us, that following Him is not a lifestyle option to be juggled with the many other interests that touch our lives. We can’t follow him on a Sunday and Wednesday or certain days and times. The desire to follow Christ has to be a supreme commitment made every day and carried out every hour. It is an invitation not simply to acknowledge Christ, but to allow his ways, his grace and teaching, to become the guiding inspiration of our lives. Such a commitment cannot be made without the detachment that is willing to subordinate everything to the service of Christ
There is a price to be paid and we need to know that there is one and what it is. That price is the cross – a level of sacrifice and suffering – perhaps even of one’s life – that each one must be prepared to undergo for the sake of the Gospel and the building of the Kingdom.
Prayer of The Day
My Lord and My God, Jesus Christ, I understand that following you is not easy. You ask me to put everything in second place to you and pick up my cross every day. I won’t be able to do this without your grace. I am weak and frail, but I believe that you will give me the strength I need. You gave yourself so that we would be free. Against that gift, I know I must try to follow you.
Jesus said. If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Notice the words ‘come’ and ‘believes’. We come to Jesus in faith. There is a definite personal relationship to Him. Coming to Jesus is not like coming to a shop to buy something. ‘Come to Me’ means ‘acknowledge Me as King.’ Come to Him and submit your life to Him. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29. ‘Come to Me. Learn of Me. Take My yoke upon you. And then you will have peace.’ Come to Jesus means to take His yoke upon us. It means that we establish a relationship with Him in which we acknowledge Him as the Lord of our life.
- Posted in: Reflections