Cross off your list anything that leads you away from Jesus’ cross. Take up your cross.


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Chapter Ten in St. Matthew’s gospel relates the detailed instructions Christ gave His disciples as He sent them to continue His mission.

He warned them that His message could cause division within families. They were to travel light and to accept what was offered them along the way. He gives the conditions of discipleship and the rewards to those who receive them. It raises the question “How would He instruct us today?”

These same guidelines or mandates are appropriate today. Christ never said that the role of discipleship would be easy. We know there are many distractions and temptations along the way. We need to keep our eyes open to our mission, and our hearts open to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. We do have the advantage of all those disciples who have gone before us. Most important, we recall that Christ would be with us always, until the end of time.

“He who will not take up his cross and come after Me is not worthy of Me.” —Matthew 10:38

 

We are Christians, disciples of Christ. We follow Jesus, Who saved us not through His power or wisdom, but through His ministry of suffering. Jesus came to earth to die on the cross to atone for our sins, pay the price for our salvation and reconcile us to God.

We must never spiritualize our faith and forget that Jesus suffered horribly in the flesh. We just can’t follow Jesus merely from the hope that He can do great things for us. That treats Jesus as a “sugar-daddy,” denying all that He is and the reason He came to earth. Jesus died a disgraceful death. He was publicly humiliated, scorned as a condemned criminal. He Who was holy and innocent bore a cross meant for a murderer.

We Christians imitate Jesus. That means we take up our cross each day, deny our very selves, and follow in His footsteps. This is impossible in our human nature. Through our baptism into Jesus’ cross and death, however, we become sharers in the divine nature. Now we can embrace the cross as Jesus embraced His cross. In the logic of the cross, by taking up our cross, we discover who we are.

If you falter carrying your cross, remember that Jesus understands. He fell several times carrying His cross. He knows the cross is heavy but He also wants you to experience the joy in sharing in His sufferings. So cross off your list anything that leads you away from Jesus’ cross. Take up your cross.

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