Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.
Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I’m a big fan of NBA basketball. Each summer, teams around the league jostle with each other to recruit the best free agents, luring players with promises of stardom, a winning culture and, most importantly, boatloads of money. Not very similar to Jesus’s recruiting pitch in today’s Gospel, to say the least! “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
The life Jesus offers us is not easy or comfortable. Discipleship doesn’t come with huge salaries and flattering photos of ourselves on billboards. What are we promised instead? Accompaniment during our trials, joy-filled community of faith, immense beauty, love beyond comprehension. You can’t put a price tag on any of those things, and they’re not worth much in a market economy. But in following Jesus together as sisters and brothers, we can glimpse the eternal and find life’s true meaning.
“Take up your cross,” the Savior said,
“if you would my disciple be;
take up your cross with willing heart,
and humbly follow after me.”
Take up your cross; let not its weight
fill your weak spirit with alarm;
Christ’s strength shall bear your spirit up
and brace your heart and nerve your arm.
Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
and let your foolish heart be still;
the Lord for you accepted death
upon a cross, on Calv’ry’s hill.
Take up your cross, then, in Christ’s strength,
and calmly ev’ry danger brave:
it guides you to abundant life
and leads to vict’ry o’er the grave.
—Text of Take Up Your Cross by Charles W. EverestPlease share the Good Word with your friends!