Picking up the Cross

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16:24) That is a key verse in today’s gospel. Part of the American idiom is having a cross to bear but I thing it most often points to the presence of a difficult responsibility or burden that someone must handle on their own or just tolerate as best as one can. But has the expression lost its sense of pointing to or working for the glory of God. Continue reading

Learning to see

Simon-Sinful-WomanIt seems that Hurricane Hermine is going to be a cross for more than just the Florida Big Bend area. The jet stream and a high pressure ridge are conspiring to make Hermine sit off the east coast of the Middle Atlantic states and bring record rains. We should especially pray for the areas affected.

It will be their cross to bear. Sadly, in an all too familiar way to the folks in Baton Rouge. Friends of mine saw the waters of Amite River rise into their home. They could see the “cross” coming, suffer its immediacy, but also see beyond it to when the waters receded and life will return to normal.

Mother Teresa will become a Saint today. She was one for whom Jesus pointed out the cross and asked her to bear it. If you have read her diary, you know that what kept St. Teresa going was her ability to see beyond the life in the slums of Kolkata to the promises of Christ. Maybe its that kind of vision that makes for a saint.

No all of us can see beyond our cross.

In 1982 Thomas Webb III moved from Chicago to Norman, Oklahoma. As best he could see, it seemed like a reasonable move. There wasn’t a lot happening for him in Chicago and a friend said there was opportunity and fun in and around the University of Oklahoma campus.  Why not? In 1983 he was convicted of rape, burglary, and other crimes and sentenced to 60 years in prison. He always maintained his innocence but he had been picked out of lineup on two separate occasions. The victim was unshakeable in her identification.

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” It is one thing to carry a cross that is your own, but this cross thrust upon him unjustly. It the cross of someone else’s making. Why would he carry it, have to carry it, or even willingly carry it? Continue reading