Father Rick’s Two Minute Homily for Thursday after Ash Wednesday, February 23, 2023
"Must" is a Strong Word!
There are things in life we must do. For example, if we want to go fishing, we must get bait or lures. If we’re running in a marathon, we must practice every day. If we’re going to pay our bills, we must get a steady job. And, if we want to follow Jesus, we must pick up our cross with Him every day.
The cross isn’t something we choose. There is a story of someone who thought his cross was too heavy, so he cut some off it. It was still too heavy, so he cut some more off. Then a third time, he did the same thing. Finally, he reached a deep drop-off but could see the other side. He couldn’t jump that far and thought, "I will lay my cross over the drop-off and walk across." But, wouldn’t you know it, his cross was too short. He was stuck where he was in life and couldn’t advance. After that, things didn’t work out.
The Son of Man must suffer greatly, be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed and raised on the third day." Jesus knew if He cut His cross to suit himself, we would be in our sins forever and never live eternally. There would be no salvation. It was a huge decision. So, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish. (Matthew 18:14). Jesus couldn’t let that happen and stayed the course.
We must do the same, says Jesus. Sometimes we want to cut our crosses to a size we can manage. However, we must pick up our cross daily for Jesus to save us. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it" (Matt. 16:25). The cross life deals us is custom-made to get to heaven. So, let’s not short-change ourselves. No more running away.
Is there a cross or two that we have avoided in the past? Ask Jesus to help you pick it up again. What will you do this time with Him?
IGNITE THE FIRE
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC