"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:27
Recently, I heard someone argue that during the time Jesus uttered these words to the crowds, he hadn't been crucified yet. Then how could he talk about 'carrying your cross'? Our parish priest explained that though the crucifixion had not happened yet, crucifixions for criminals have been around. These criminals carry their own 'tools for death', Jesus would have been understood by the crowds with the reference.
He further mentioned that most people consider their personal miseries as their 'crosses' - a debt burden, a dysfunctional family situation, work problems. And they whine about these publicly, as their way of 'following Christ' by 'carrying this burdens.'
He dare said that behavior and attitude is a superficial understanding of the gospel. Life burdens are certainly not the exclusive domain of Christians, or Catholics. So how could bearing with these burdens become our way to salvation? He emphasizes that the burden, though shared with other faiths, must be differentiated by the way we carry it. The challenge for Christians is to NOT feel weighed down, not to whine and lament. We should carry that cross as if it didn't weigh a thing. We should continue to be the same person, with or without that cross. That is true discipleship.
Besides, Jesus does say that such burdens should be 'cast unto him' so that these would be lighter. Believing in Him and his power to 'lighten the load' differentiates us. Our personal adversities do not have to be painted on our faces everyday. We should carry our own cross and nobody has to know about it.
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