“… Who do the crowds say that I am? …”
Gospel: Luke 9:18-24
18 Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” 20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” 21 He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” 23 Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.
Jesus asked his disciples who the people said he was. He learned that some said he was John the Baptist while others thought he might be Elijah. He asked the disciples themselves who they thought he was. Peter, speaking for all them, said he was the messiah, the one that Israel had been waiting for. Jesus immediately told them to say nothing of this to anyone because he had much yet to suffer. In order to help his followers understand the commitment of discipleship, he explained that they must take up their own crosses—that is, make sacrifices—in order to follow him.
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
What crosses do you have in your life? Is it an illness? A relative? An addiction? Whatever our crosses are, they always have something in common – we would rather we did not have to bear them.
We know from the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus would rather have not had to bear His cross. He asked His Father 3 times to take this cross away from Him – but he also prayed that if it was God’s will, then “…Your will be done.”
Jesus’ cross was made for Him alone. He was the only one who could do the work required for the task that God had set Him. The same can be said of us and our crosses. God has given us our crosses for a reason – even if we don’t understand what that might be yet – and we must learn how to embrace our cross, just as Jesus did.
Being a Christian is not always easy. To ‘…take up our cross daily…’ and follow Jesus requires great strength and courage. But it is important to remember that God never leaves us to carry our crosses alone. When the burden got too much for Jesus, Simon of Cyrene helped share the load for a while. It is important for us to follow this example and to know when things are getting too much for us, we must seek help for a while, until we are able to continue again on our own.
- What crosses do I have in my life?
- A cross I find particularly hard to bear is…
- Who is my Simon of Cyrene?
Help me to identify and accept the crosses I have in my life. Give me the strength to carry them daily, and help me to ask for help should I need it.
Thank You, I Love You Jesus, Amen.