It is fitting that the first Gospel reading after Ash Wednesday is this:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”
We begin the season of Lent with Jesus looking ahead to his own death. And, then we must look ahead toward our suffering too. We are told to take up our crosses. In the ancient world, the cross was an instrument of death, not just a metaphor.
What is your Lenten commitment this year? Does it reflect the seriousness of Jesus’ call for us to take up our crosses and follow after him? May we strive for sacrifice and for lasting change in this season of Lent.