Today Jesus reminds us of where his ministry on earth finds its fullest meaning: the Cross. This scripture has long been used in a penitential sense. However, our faith tells us that God became human, in the person of Jesus, for us. To walk along side us. To share our burdens. To understand, through lived experience, what it means to be human, so that we might be able to enter into a far deeper experience of relationship with God.
If this is the case, then when Jesus tells us today to pick up our Cross and follow him, we know that he is not giving us a cross to carry, but simply acknowledging that we already carry one. It means we do not bear those crosses alone. Think of the pathway to Calvary. Even Jesus needed help from Simon of Cyrene.
Over the last few days, I’ve spent time with a family who lost a child on Sunday. Amidst the devastation, the one ray of light has been the amount of family and friends who have gathered around them. Each one of them, in their own way, acting as Simon of Cyrene. Their cross doesn’t get any lighter, but the presence of those who care, whether it be a cooked meal, a story to share, or a shoulder to cry on, has been a source of light and love.
Perhaps today, this is what we can hold to. That while our own crosses can, at times, feel impossible to bear, we follow a God who bears them with us, and we have a community around us who can, with light and love, walk beside us in our pain.
Luke Bulley CP serves as the assistant priest at St Paul Apostle in Endeavour Hills. He is also a co-founder and Team Leader of The Francis Project, an interdenominational school for Church renewal.