Master, how do I carry my cross? Master, what shall I use to fashion my cross? Master, how do I humble myself? Master, how do I live my life as a follower of you when I am but a simple human?
Lent is a time of reflection, a time to reflect upon the cross of Jesus and upon our own crosses. Yet many of us refuse to even acknowledge that we have a cross. We are more than willing to except that Jesus has a cross and that he carried it up Calvary, yet we fail to understand that the cross Jesus carried was not his own. His cross is our cross. So if we reject that we even have a cross how can we accept that Jesus had one?
We are sinners, plain and simple. We are a fallen race, our first parents made sure of that for us, and we suffer under the weight of their cross. And being sinners we have created our own cross, have fashioned them from the wood of greed and self love. Our own human ego covers our crosses with the shroud of vanity. We see the cross of Jesus as his own personal cross and not as the cross of salvation for humanity. We fail to remember that He was sinless and that the sins of our own nailed him to the cross. Our weakness of flesh sacrificed the Lamb of God.
Lent offers us a time to stop and look deeply at ourselves, lent teaches us to see our cross and Jesus teaches us how to die in to the new life of the resurrection. Lent is about sacrifice, not of food or TV, but a sacrifice of humanity. We are all to die unto ourselves so that we can be born into Christ.
“Repent and prepare the way” John the Baptist had it right, Lent is preparation for the baptism of blood, the blood of our Lord that was shed for our sins, not his, for he was sinless.
Jesus was sinless and we are shameless…
The world has taught us not to take responsibility for our own actions, but rather we are to place the blame on others. Modern thinking is one that pushes rather than pulls. We push off our responsibility on to others, but push off the blame and hard work. We look for ways to push away anything that makes us uncomfortable; we want life to be someone else’s responsibility. In times that have passed we use to pull more towards ourselves; we took blame and sought out responsibility and were egger to carry the heavy burden when no one else was able to or willing to.
My parents went through some hard times as did their parents, yet I never heard my parents complain. I am sure they did and I am sure tears were shed but they never bothered to burden me with it. I never heard them blame others for their hardship nor did they look for excuses. They lived life as it was dealt to them. Some hands they made themselves through bad decisions and some hands just appeared. But that’s life.
Today it is much different, today I hear blame everywhere. Parents are more than willing to sit there children down and place upon them the burdens they must bear. They are more than willing to blame the government or employer for their own bad decisions. They are willing to allow others, including their own children, to carry their cross, all in an effort to deny the cross they have created. Yet they are more than willing to point out the crosses of their neighbors.
“Repent” is the call from the wilderness that we all must hear. Lent is a time of reflection, a time to look upon the cross of Jesus and the cross of ourselves. Lent is a time to reexamine our outlook on life and our “inlook” on self. Jesus tells us that we must be willing to pick up our cross if we wish to follow him; this implies that we have a cross, each and every one of us, yet we still fail to see our own.
What a sad thing it is, that we are willing to allow others to bear our cross, willing to allow others to suffer for our failures yet we are unwilling to admit we have even failed!