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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Christian Discipleship Embraces the Cross


“Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ They said in reply, ‘John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”’ Then he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said in reply, ‘The Christ of God.’ He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, ‘The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.’ Then he said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it’” (Luke 9:18-24).
 
Peter was able to proclaim Jesus as “the Christ of God,” but he had little understanding of what this messiahship entailed. Peter did not yet understand that the Messiah would sacrifice himself for the well-being of others, and that he would expect his followers to do the same for each other. Jesus tells us that if we want to be his disciples, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. The key word in this phrase is “our”—“take up our cross.” Yes, we have to follow Jesus to the cross to get to resurrection, but our cross is not the same as Jesus’ cross. Yes, we will have to take up the cross of Jesus and accept his yoke on our shoulders, but we will not be overwhelmed. Jesus will never let that cross be more than we can bear.
 
Similarly, each time we receive the blood of Jesus in Communion, we are aware of Jesus’ question, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink” (Matthew 20:22)? We can say “yes” when we realize that each of us has our own particular “cup” to embrace. Each day we are asked to pick up our unique cup and drink it to the full. Where is the grace to do this? Among other graces, Jesus has given us his own eucharistic presence to inspire and sustain us.
 
– What supports or graces are available to help you with your crosses?
 
Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store

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