“Albrecht Altdorfer 016” by Albrecht Altdorfer – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.“ Mt. 16:24
Last weekend’s liturgy taught us about the need for a personal relationship with Jesus (“Who do you say that I am?” (Mt. 16:15). We are called to follow Jesus who is “the Christ” and we come to know Jesus through the grace of God. God wants to be in relationship with us. That is good news!
The Gospel for this Sunday picks up right where that one left off. In it we discover that entering into a personal relationship with Jesus does not take away the struggle of life or make life easy. The fact is that life is not easy. Suffering is a part of every life. Being a disciple of Jesus means taking up our cross, and accepting the suffering that comes our way.
It may seem like the good news from last Sunday suddenly takes a darker turn this Sunday. However, there is still good news here. In our suffering we are not alone. Jesus has entered into the place of pain and suffering in our life and in the world. He is found there. That is good news indeed. Jesus teaches us that, “… whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt. 16:25). When we “take up” the suffering that comes our way and allow it to be transformed by the loving presence of God we find the meaning of life! The good news is that Jesus redeeming love cannot be stopped. Where we think God is absent, Jesus assures us that He is there revealing himself to us. Thanks be to God!
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood