by Fr. Francis Huwn Msfs
24th Sunday Year B
Ps 114: 1-6, 8-9
The true Jesus always has the Cross
Who is Jesus? In order not to be confused, there is one particular thing, which will definitely identify the true Jesus: it is the cross. The true Jesus always has the cross. There is no cross-less Jesus. That is why he said: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”He is the Suffering Servant of Yahweh that the Prophet Isaiah talks about in the first reading.
A story is told of a woman who had a heavy cross to carry in her life. One day she went to St. Peter and said, ‘I can’t carry this heavy cross any longer.’ Peter looked at the cross and said, ‘It’s impossible, someone made a mistake. What is the serial number of the cross? The woman said, ‘001003.’ Peter wrote the number in a book and said, ‘Put the cross over there and see if you can find another that fits you better.’
Two hours later, the woman returned to Peter. With a big smile on her face she said, ‘I think I’ve found just the right one.’ “Good!” said Peter. ‘What is the serial number of the cross?’ The woman said, ‘Lets see. It says 001003.’ Peter said, “Why, that’s the same one you came in with!”
Our basic instinct is to run away from trials and sufferings. We pray to God so that all the challenges are removed from our way. The great temptation the devil sends to us in time of suffering is to make us doubt of God’s love for us.
Many of our sins of omission in life are the result of our fear to face up to something, unsure what it will cost us. We want to get to Easter, and bypass Good Fri., but this cannot be done. No cross no crown. It is the short-term pain for the long-term gain. Living my Christian vocation involves facing up to the fact that I have to die to myself many times in the service of others. This prospect can cause me to hold back, to delay, to try to avoid. I put off facing up to something I should do, in the hope that it may go away by itself. This includes patterns of behaviour, addictions, compulsions, and injustice to others. I know rightly what I should do, but it seems to be too difficult, so I keep postponing doing anything about it, and then, perhaps, life is over, and I never got around to it. This is something on which to reflect today.
Our journey as Christians is like climbing a mountain. It is an upward ascent to perfection and holiness. Jesus said: “Be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.” It is never easy. It is the way of the cross. It is the way of rendering good works and loving service to those in need as the Apostle James said in the second reading. It is the way of forgiveness and love, even love of our enemies. It is the way of self-denial in the midst of temptations to comfort and extravagance. It is never easy. So, if we are looking for an easy life, if we are looking for comfort and pleasure, beware! A quotation says: “If the going gets so easy, be careful! You may be going downhill!” No Cross, no Crown!