“Sometimes they are small and light;
other times they are of mid-size,
just large enough to disrupt our daily routines,
but occasionally they are heavy and imposing –
their weight expelling our final vestige of hope.
What cross have you been given to carry by our Lord?
Whatever the challenge, whatever the size,
know that he carried one heavier than yours
and because of it became our Lord and Savior.
By his stripes we are healed;
by our sufferings may we grow
in endurance and strength.”
What a shift from last Sunday’s triumphal Gospel in which Simon correctly identifies Jesus as the Son of the Living God and is entrusted with the keys to the kingdom, to this Sunday’s Gospel where Jesus rebukes Peter who struggles to accept the sufferings Jesus will have to endure. From it Jesus reminds us that we must lose our lives to find them as we are called to carry our own cross in our journey of discipleship.
This must have taken a lot of the wind out of the sails of poor Peter. Jeremiah likewise felt duped when he realized the weight of his calling to be a prophetic voice which led to his incredible rejection and suffering. In an attempt to flee his calling, Jeremiah feels a burning sensation longing for God’s Word and presence in his life. When Jesus asked his disciples if they too want to leave him, “Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” [John 6:68]. We know that our own journey of faith will include different crosses to bear. May we have the grace to embrace them and cling to the gift of hope that helps us endure all things.