As I reflected on this Sunday’s Gospel, I immediately thought about a wonderful friend, whose family recognised the Lord in their pain and loss. The grief of life we can do nothing about, but we are aided by the example of Jesus who carried the cross and those close to us who walk this journey with us.
As Jesus foretells his death and resurrection, Peter’s declares that that this cannot happen to him and instead of the being the ‘rock’ upon which to build the church, Peter becomes an obstacle, thinking as human beings tend to do. Jesus recognises his followers have a long way to go to become disciples; do we also think this way? Do we not recognise a life without self-sacrifice? There is no true love without self-sacrifice.
As a parent love and self-sacrifice happen without a second thought; it may require us to walk against the current and at times uphill. The journey is not always easy however, it is only this love and self-sacrifice that gives meaning and happiness to life. God our Father to knows this love and self-sacrifice.
In my work with Catholic Mission, I hear the stories of missionaries who ‘take up their cross and follow me’ each day in real and authentic service to others. These sacrifices can be viewed as true works of mercy. The missionaries constantly recognise the Lord in hurt, loss, and uncertainty in the communities in which they work and to which they dedicate their lives; yet they continue to love as Jesus loved, taking up the cross to do what is right and being willing to endure it.
Let’s remember that through the Eucharistic celebration, we’re continually invited to live for the Lord and centre our lives on love, just as Jesus the redeeming Sacrifice did. As Pope Francis reminds us; ‘Each time we take part in the Holy Mass, the love of the crucified and Risen Christ is conveyed to us as food and drink, so that we may follow Him on the daily path, in concrete service to our brothers and sisters.’