“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus was speaking to his disciples, and he made this clear to them that every one of them has a cross to carry, and when they take it up, they must follow in his footsteps.
We also have a cross to carry, and when we pick up our cross, we must follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Beloved in Christ, we all have different crosses. When we take up our crosses, we must exhibit love, humility, selflessness, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler (a dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip) said,
“To “take up our cross,” however, means to lay our strengths aside. It means to lay our “ego strength “aside. Taking up our cross means picking up those weaknesses that we so often try to run away from in life. Taking up our cross means carrying around those places where we are vulnerable, places where we are maybe even exposed to embarrassment and shame.”
Our crosses are full of liabilities, which nobody would be proud of; this is what Jesus tells us to carry and follow in his footsteps. Jesus received punishment for all our sins so that God would forgive us our sins.
The woman in Shunem is believed to be very wealthy; she saw Elisha and pressed him to stay and eat in her house. He did not know Elisha from anywhere, but she saw the need to help this man upon seeing him. The woman had her problem to deal with but did not allow that to prevent him from showing love to a stranger. We can infer she was treating Elisha very well, which is why Elisha always broke his journey for a meal whenever he passed that way. This woman went the extra mile to prepare a room for Elisha to make him comfortable whenever he visited. This show of love and kindness led the woman to receive the prophet’s reward. Mathew 10:41a says,
“The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet, will receive a prophet’s reward….”
In taking up our cross, our focus must be on Jesus and him alone because we will be saved and relieved of the cross, we carry through him. Jesus makes it clear that if we prefer Father or Mother to Him, we will not be worthy of him, and this is because non of them can save us.
We can have life only through Jesus Christ. Therefore, anyone who finds his life will lose it, but anyone who loses his life for the sake of Jesus will find it. This is to make it clear to us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can go to the Father except through Him. When we make people feel welcomed, we have welcomed Jesus, and when we do that, it means we have welcomed God. There is no doubt that this is very difficult, but with Christ in the vessel, we shall always smile at the storm.
Beloved in Christ, we should do everything we do, no matter how big or small, to the glory of God, and he will bless us. Today’s gospel makes it clear that every little thing we do in the name of Christ will certainly come with a reward.
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
When we were baptised in Christ Jesus, we were baptised in His death; it did not end there; we also went into the tomb with him in death, so because of the resurrection, we might also live a new life.
My dear brothers and sisters, it has never been easy, and it will never be, but we must also know that with man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Let us embrace our crosses take them up, and follow the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, with love, humility, selflessness, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. If we do this, we will undoubtedly be rewarded with eternal life.
Fr. Josiah Myles Abadoo