And off we go! As we begin another Lent, Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel how we need to look at Lent…as a time to reflect on the things in our life that are difficult and can, if we let them, destroy us. Jesus though, asks us to look at our struggles and see how they will bring us closer to Him.
Many times in the gospels the words of Jesus can sound quite confusing, and today is one of those examples. Jesus admits He will be killed but He will rise again. How confusing that must have sounded to the Apostles. If I were an Apostle hearing those words I would have thought: Jesus will be killed? No way! What will become of me? Take up our cross? Why? That hurts. The cross was a sign of the lowliest kind of death, not something of which to be proud. And then Jesus tells them that in order to save their life they must lose it. What does that mean?
Jesus may have very well gone on to explain in detail what He told the Apostles, but the Holy Spirit gives us only the words we need to hear. We are called to undertake the mission of Christ, to carry forth His teachings and thereby help lead others to eternal life. Regardless of our situation, we are called to his mission.
This Lent, let’s reflect on the difficulties in our lives. Are we using those difficulties to help us grow with Christ in our relationship with Him, or are we allowing the difficulties to take ownership of who we are? I vote for taking up the cross, smiling at Jesus and telling Him: “Jesus, take care of me. Just take care of me. And show me how to use my cross for your glory.”
And go smile real big at God today!