The Gospel on Sunday, the 12th in Ordinary Time, explores Jesus’ identity and ministry; his relationship to God; and our relationship with Jesus.
One day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of his disciples he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; others Elijah; and others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God’ he said. But he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.
‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then to all he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it.’
Jesus symbolises our communion with him with our being invited to renounce ourselves and take up our cross, every day, and following. His language has been adopted by others and used to dominate and diminish those in their charge and ‘care’.
Yet it is in that saying no to self, and being faithful to the cross, daily, that makes Jesus who and what he is for us – making him not death and diminishment but life and love and truth.
The image of the cross – as well as its historical aptness, given the manner of Jesus death – does highlight the public nature of the choices we make, and their personal cost to us.
But in that choice we find ourselves, and accomplish our potential, and find fulfilment in that and our communion with God and neighbour.
- What about following Jesus challenges you?
- What draws you to try?
Fresco at Basilica of St Francis, Assisi. (c) 2014, Allen Morris