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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Feb 26, 2009)
Readings: Deut 30:15-20; Lk 9:22-25
"... he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Lk 9:23
In today's Gospel, Christ sums up the focus of this Lenten season in one amazing sentence as He states that He will suffer, die, and rise on the third day. How blessed we are to have this passage to meditate on just the second day of our Lenten journey.
You will note that Jesus quickly turns the attention from Himself to us. It is not enough to simply focus on the horrific hardships our Lord endured during His sorrowful Passion. Lent is not something we merely observe; rather, it's a time to truly enter into His Passion by picking up our cross and following Him. If we want to be considered one of His true followers, this can be done by accepting our sufferings and uniting them to His. Then, they have lasting redemptive value.
Each day you and I are presented with countless opportunities to do this. Our daily cross may involve being loving and kind to an angry boss or co-worker. Or it may mean deciding to joyfully care for the needs of young children or elderly parents even though you don't feel appreciated for it. Or perhaps you are called to endure the physical limitations of a prolonged illness.
Don't let this day of Lent pass without taking a few prayerful moments to discern the many ways you can take up your cross and follow Jesus. Don't waste your suffering!
O Lord, I love You and I truly want to be a follower of You. Please give me the grace to ungrudgingly take up my cross and walk in Your footsteps. Amen.