“If anyone wishes to come after me, they must deny themself and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Following Jesus is difficult, challenging, and rewarding. The first disciples experienced this first hand and we also experience this as His modern-day disciples. Like the first disciples we like to follow the Jesus who is powerful in word and deed. We like to follow the “popular” Jesus who heals and gathers large crowds around Him. We even like to bask in His glory.
Like the first disciples we are more hesitant to follow Jesus when He tells us that the Son of Man must suffer and invites us to take up our cross “daily and follow” Him.” Like Peter we might even “rebuke” Jesus when He speaks such “nonsense.” Yet like the first disciples we need to learn again and again to think the thoughts of God and not of human beings.
On Ash Wednesday we are invited to turn to God and believe and trust in God. We are invited anew to seek to know and to do God’s Will. God does not expect us to be perfect. Jesus who showed great patience with His fallible disciples also shows great patience with each one of us.
Jesus shows us the way to true and lasting happiness:
“For whoever wishes to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit themself?”