We might be considering in our personal reflections of today’s Gospel – the personal crosses we bear and take the time to “configure” those crosses to the Cross of our Lord: a worthy exercise to be certain and most definitely a part of the Christian experience. We might even be prepared at this point to “weather” the comments from people who ridicule us for this as the “absurdity” of Christianity that we create for ourselves a way to put on a happy face about suffering in this life, but delude ourselves.
Something worthy of consideration today might be to ask ourselves: “am I prepared to see today’s Gospel in light of the crosses I bear in serving others”? Denying ourselves – taking up our cross – following Jesus. These are all important parts of the Christian life of service too. In serving others if we are truly servants, there will always be a growing commitment to self-denial. True Christian service cannot be seen as a part-time desire, it requires a certain part of ourselves that will always bring about the tension of our own desires. Of course we need to take care of ourselves too – this is important – but we need to be constantly seeking and searching for ways and places to serve others whom the Lord has put in the path of our Christian vocation. This is going to require self-denial. Sometimes putting the needs of others before our own needs. Often being more generous with our time. Often being more generous with our availability. Often with a greater sense of awareness and focus on the needs others present to us.
The crosses we may bear might at first glance seem self-evident; but I would suggest that this might be the discomfort of self-denial. It’s in helping others carry their crosses sometimes, or carrying the cross of being there for others that are the crosses we bear in service. And it’s those crosses that we must consider – always knowing that as heavy as they may seem sometimes; our Lord is carrying the heaviest part (that person’s and your) Cross Himself.
Finally, we need to remember for every helping action we take, every moment we give, every kindness we extend, everything that we do – we do for the Glory of God and in the Name of Jesus Christ! Always and without exception. This may not be something that we talk about or even need to say. “They will know we are Christians by our love…” was the title of a song I recall from my childhood. This too often is the truth of today’s Gospel.