Take Up Your Cross

I doubt that anyone reading this would plan ‘salvation’ in just the way that Jesus offers it to us. Our instinct is for a Saviour, great and glorious, that comes and takes from us our suffering, especially innocent, undeserved and useless suffering. We can accept, maybe grudgingly, pain we deserve because of our actions but the rest, especially of the weak and innocent, we find scandalous to watch, and incomprehensible to undergo.

In the salvation Jesus offers, the truly Innocent One accepts a shameful and ignominious death, rejected and abused by the people he loved so much. Peter well expressed our revulsion with such a way of salvation: ‘God forbid!’ But Jesus told him to get behind him and follow like a disciple. Jesus turned, faced and accepted his cross, so, as his disciples, we too must face the cross in our life. As we cling to our cross and bleed, our strength and consolation is that God, in the weakness of our humanity has gone before us making this painful, difficult, incomprehensible suffering the path to the fullness of divine life. We do not understand this but as we accept and undergo this path, some intimations of God’s wisdom are given to us: that God’s love and presence are revealed here; that salvation is offered as a free, undeserved gift to all; that God’s grace will work powerfully through the experience of weakness.

But that understanding comes later, after we have accepted our cross and walked with our Saviour God. In the beginning, in our pain and confusion, we remain faithful to our cross because Jesus remains faithful to us.

Adapted from Renew International Prayer Time Year A