This is My Cross
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
After reading this Gospel I was reminded of the time my mother announced to the family that she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The family was devastated. I was surprised at how calm my mother was. When I was able to have time with her alone, I asked her how she really was. She looked at me very peacefully and said “I’m good really, this is my cross, we all have crosses in life, this is mine. This will give me more time to pray and be with Jesus.” Down the track when she was quite ill and approaching Jesus in heaven, she would share how difficult it was to persevere in prayer. I would gently remind her that she is living her prayer, that she is with Jesus in his suffering on the cross.
Life can hold many disappointments, trials and challenges. Today’s challenge or invitation will be different and unique for each one of us. The cross that I am to bear will be different to that of my sisters and is different to my mothers. Perhaps the suffering we carry are a physical ailment, an addiction, unhealthy attachments or maybe the consequences of our sin.
Jesus invites us in the Gospel today to deny ourselves. That is to say no to temptations, desires, attachments, sin, wanting to give up or give in or falling into despair. Instead, he asks us to take up our crosses and follow him. Jesus who has suffered with us and for us will always remain close to us. In return for suffering, he offers us eternal life in his loving presence.
Lord Jesus, help me to deny myself for your sake. Give me the grace to carry the crosses in my life. When temptations, trials and disappointments get thrown my way, give me the strength and grace to lean into your loving care, trusting that one day I will be with you in paradise.
Sr. Therese Mills
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Gospel: Luke 9:22-25