Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(James 2:14-24.26; Mark 8:34-9:1)
There is a story about the person who considered his cross too heavy to bear. He complained to the Lord, and the Lord showed him an array of crosses. The Lord said that the man could take up any cross he wished. However, he had to carry a cross if he was to follow him to eternal life. The man chose one of the crosses that looked like a good fit. Shortly afterwards, the man came back to the Lord saying that he preferred his original cross. The cross that he thought was lighter turned out more troublesome than anticipated!
In today’s gospel Peter has just proclaimed Jesus Messiah or savior of the people. Jesus in turn declared that his Messiah-ship will be manifested by his death on the cross and resurrection. Now he is saying that to be his disciple one has to carry his or her personal cross after him.
One’s cross is the dimensions of our life that we find difficult to bear. It may be an illness or a particularly annoying relative. Carrying the cross after Jesus is not just living with the personal difficulty but allowing it to transform our life. It becomes the source and object of both prayer and effort. Dealing with our cross in this way in time we will come to see God as our savior.