Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." - Matthew 16:24
Every Easter, when I was a child, I would watch King of Kings, a movie about the life of Jesus. Every time I watched it, I would start crying as the story moved closer to Jesus’ passion and death. I couldn’t understand why this had to happen. Couldn’t he just live forever? I didn’t understand that the cross has to be part of the story.
Peter seems to be thinking the same thing in this week’s gospel passage. Last week we heard Peter making his bold statement of faith. He tells Jesus - You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.
This week, he shows another side. When Jesus says that he must go to Jerusalem, suffer, die and be raised, Peter won’t hear of it. He is horrified that something like this should happen to Jesus. It is as if his faith has gone out the window.
Peter doesn’t understand that the cross has to be part of the story.
I think that the path of faith is like this for us too. Some days we are bold and sure. Other days we are doubting and afraid.
One day we say – Jesus, you are the Lord of our life! The next day we turn around and say – I will manage things from now on!
But deep in our hearts, we really know - if we wish to follow Jesus, we too must carry our cross.
Oh Lord, it is so hard to deny myself. I know that I cannot do it without you. Sometimes my cross is light. Other times I cannot possibly carry it. Please, Jesus, help me carry my cross. Help me make this journey to you, for you, and with you. Amen.