Will You Carry The Cross?
Daily Reflection – 3/20/19
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20: 17-28)
It’s easy to have good intentions, but is that enough? The loving mother didn’t actually realize what she was asking. Jesus was going up to Jerusalem where He would take up His throne of the Cross and be crucified. And it was in this context that Jesus is asked if James and John could join Him on His throne. They were invited by Jesus to follow in His footsteps and to courageously give their lives in a sacrificial way for the love of others. They were to abandon all fear and were to be ready and willing to say “Yes” to their own crosses as they sought to serve Christ and His mission.
Following Jesus is not something we ought to do half way. If we want to be a true follower of Christ then we, too, need to drink the chalice of His Precious Blood deep into our souls and to be nourished by that gift so that we are ready and willing to give of ourselves to the point of a total sacrifice. We need to be ready and willing to hold nothing back, even if that means the greatest of sacrifice. We are ALL called to be martyrs in spirit. This means that we must be so completely given over to Christ and His will that we have died to ourselves.
To many people, those words may fall into the category of “church talk.” But ask the person who has suffered much. In one way or another, they will tell you that the only way the suffering became manageable and then bearable was by their identifying their pain with a higher cause. The only way the suffering could be borne was by coupling it with an even greater pain.
During this period of Lent, we have to recognize that the cross is borne by all of His believers. To some, it is light – others heavy. But the ability to pick up the wood of the cross comes from our uniting our suffering with His.
“Can we drink of the chalice that Jesus is going to drink?” Can your love of God and others be so complete and total that you are a martyr in the truest sense of the word? Resolve to say “Yes,” drink the chalice of His Precious Blood and daily offer your life in total sacrifice. It’s worth it and you can do it!
Prayer of The Day
Lord, may my love for You and others be so complete that I hold nothing back. May the gift of Your Precious Blood be my strength on this journey so that I may imitate Your perfect and sacrificial love. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
Vatican Council II asserts “that man achieves his prime of life through dedication and commitment to others.” We may be under the impression we are giving away life, but, in fact, we are retrieving it. He who does not live to serve does not serve to live. And, in this attitude Christ should be our perfect model —Jesus is fully man— inasmuch as “the Son of man has come, not to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many” (Mt 20:28).
- Posted in: Reflections