Study: Reflect on a truly difficult time in your life. Where did you find the strength to continue?
Pray: Is there a challenging situation in your life right now? Ask the Lord for grace and wisdom.
Serve: How can you help someone in a tight spot today? How can you help them carry their cross?
There is a sobering element in the readings this week that focuses on the cost of discipleship. We commonly speak of “carrying the Cross” as a way of understanding how our sacrifices and burdens become transformed when we participate in the Cross of Christ.
The first reading from the book of Wisdom reminds us that our mortal natures cannot fathom the breadth and depth of God’s plan. We rely on the Lord, and we trust that through the power of the Holy Spirit God reveals the path of our lives – and provides us with the strength for the journey.
The psalm response “In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge” helps us understand that when times get tough we turn to Jesus. He is the source of our strength, and with his grace we find a safe place from which we can prepare our hearts for the demands of the day.
Paul’s letter to Philemon touches upon our human weakness. Paul, imprisoned for his faith, is sending back a runaway slave (Onesimus) to his master – urging Philemon to accept his former servant with kindness as a brother in the Lord. Paul, Onesimus, and Philemon must all trust in the Lord for the strength to do what is right, even when it is difficult.
Finally, the Gospel speaks bluntly about the cost of discipleship. The price might be our family, our relationships, our possessions…yet through it all the Lord affirms that his grace empowers us to carry our Cross. For indeed, we all have crosses, and we can face them with hope – knowing that the Lord, who carried his Cross, will help us with our own.