Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”
As we embark on this Lenten journey, the Church gives us some wonderful readings to contemplate. Today we hear Jesus telling His disciples clearly that the Son of Man would “suffer greatly and be rejected…and be killed and on the third day be raised”. It is possible that they didn’t understand that Jesus was the Son of Man. The disciples in Mark’s Gospel often do not see clearly what Jesus is trying to teach them. We too often learn slowly from the Lord.
Then Jesus spoke to them and to us directly. If we want to be disciples (followers) of Jesus, we must take up our cross daily and deny ourselves. We must lose our lives in order to save it. Jesus’ teachings are full of paradoxes and speak directly against what the world teaches us.
The world teaches us that this life is all about me. We should squeeze out of life all that we can. We should gather as many material things as we possibly can. Do what you want to do with your life. If you suffer, get rid of the pain immediately any way that you can.
Jesus teaches us that this life is not about us. We are to love by laying down our lives for others. We should share with the poor and needy and be generous with the many gifts God has given us. If we want to find true joy, we should seek the will of God before all else. Even when He calls us to something that we didn’t think possible, He will give us the grace to do His will. Suffering is part of the human condition and can actually lead to redemption for ourselves and for others.
This Lenten journey is a time to focus on my priorities.
Am I gaining the whole world while forfeiting my soul?
Or do I have the Lord at the center of my life?
Where do I spend my time?
Where do I spend my money?
Can I unite my pain and suffering with that of Jesus?
Am I willing to carry the cross with Jesus in life?
Have a blessed 2nd day of Lent!