22nd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me.
In last Sunday’s Gospel Peter made an eager commitment to follow Jesus. Today, he is told that his choice will have a cost. The way of Christ is the way of the cross. As for Peter, so for us. The cross is the mark of the disciple from the Baptismal font to the grave. In essence, it means saying ‘no’ to self and saying ’yes’ to God. This will take us to places we would rather not go, but as St. Rose of Lima reminds us: ‘apart from the Cross we have no other ladder by which we may get to heaven’. We may be sure that there are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers on earth. By embracing the cross, we ripen. By carrying it willingly, we will find that it will carry us. In its’ shadow we learn that every trial has a triumph in it and each battle we face has a purpose. The cross is not a loss. It is actually the supreme sign of God’s love for us. To look at the cross is to feel loved and it is an invitation to love as He has loved us. ‘The cross is the school of love’ (Maximillian Kolbe).