You are probably familiar with the story of the man who was having a difficult time carrying his cross. He enters a house where there are many crosses and he states to the man there that he cannot carry this heavy cross anymore. Is it possible for him to have one that is lighter? He had already dropped the cross and was looking around the room. He saw wooden crosses and even one made of iron. He then sees a cross made of paper in the corner and he says in a spirited way that he has found the cross he wants. The man looks at him and says that the one has picked out is the one he came in with.
Although this story has a point, it misses what I think is one of the more important points carried through the Scriptures today. Jesus does not say to drag this cross or to carry it with large complaints. Instead He says for us to lift it and follow Him. He represents joy and love to the fullest extent, so He is in fact telling us to carry our crosses with the same joy and love.
Now if I can convince myself, hopefully I, through the Holy Scriptures can convince you too. For I know this is not an easy task and for now we are talking about those paper ones we carry every day, whether we realize it or not. For one day we will be asked to carry a much heavier one, if not already in our life, and this joyful carrying of lighter ones will be of incredible value.
A person speaks ill of you and you find out about it. Your reaction is one of outrage, you cannot believe this and you react with venom. Not only aren’t you carrying the cross, you are not even in the same country. You also have gotten yourself worked up over something very insignificant. If instead you swallow hard and tell yourself it does not matter, and then go out of your way to pray for the person and be nice to them as well, you are carrying the cross with great joy. We must come to the conclusion we can do this no differently than Jeremiah in the first reading who gains this courage through a relationship with God.
I also point out that the only reason Peter catches the blast from Jesus is that Jesus wants him to understand the same principle, to carry this cross with joy. Peter like all of us needs this as later in his life he is crucified upside down. Likely not to happen to us, but other heavy crosses will come to our life.
This leads us to this important step. I heard on the radio the other day that a steel beam was being erected as a memorial for the plane that crashed on 9/11 in
He brushed past this all important point. The only reason the steel beam could be of comfort is because it is in the form of a cross. We must also strive to move to that image as well. We can only do so if we can move to the joy of carrying light crosses and then we must listen to the words of
The cross of Our Savior had to be dug deep into the earth. We must dig that much into our hearts and souls to get to this level of peace for the difficult crosses placed in our life.
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