Take Up Your Cross

Jesus said to his apostles:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is a righteous man
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because the little one is a disciple—
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
(Matthew 10:37-42)

Scripture Study

10:38 The first mention of the cross in Matthew, explicitly that of the disciple, but implicitly that of Jesus (and follow after me). Crucifixion was a form of capital punishment used by the Romans for offenders who were not Roman citizens.

10:39 One who denies Jesus in order to save one’s earthly life will be condemned to everlasting destruction; loss of earthly life for Jesus’ sake will be rewarded by everlasting life in the kingdom.

10:41 A prophet: one who speaks in the name of God; here, the Christian prophets who proclaim the gospel. Righteous man: since righteousness is demanded of all the disciples, it is difficult to take the righteous man of this verse and one of these little ones (Mt 10:42) as indicating different groups within the followers of Jesus. Probably all three designations are used here of Christian missionaries as such.

10:42 All who receive the disciples of Jesus receive him, and God who sent him, and will be rewarded accordingly.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus proposes a sort of shock therapy. He asks us to bring to mind those possessions to which we are most attached—not crude things like money and fame and power, but our mothers, our fathers, our wives and children, and even our very life. And then he tells us to “hate” them.

Here’s what he means: hate them in the measure that they are possessions of your clinging ego. And once we have learned to hate even these most loveable things, we are to “take up our cross.” Anyone hearing Jesus in the first century would have known exactly what this meant: to be pinned to an instrument of torture, stripped of all possessions, humiliated, dishonored, to become a total failure in the eyes of the world.

But here’s the consummately weird conclusion: Jesus nailed to the cross is the only really happy man. You have everything you need right now right in front of you to be happy, even when you are nailed to a cross, as long as you have rid your life of attachments.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.