Today’s passage from Matthew is a turning point. It is the first time Jesus reveals the cost of discipleship. From now on, the focus will be on that cross until it becomes the way of life for any who would follow Christ.
On the liturgical year’s last Sunday, “when the Son of Man comes in glory” (Mt 25:31), we see who has carried their cross: those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, cared for the ill, and befriended the prisoner.The Gospel’s truth is this: If it does not require us to risk our reputation, our comfort, our freedom, or our very lives for the sake of the least among us, it is not the cross of Christ. Click To Tweet
At first glance, these may not seem difficult crosses to carry. Write a check, done. Be nice to people, done. Donate clothes I no longer want, done. Maybe we have surrounded ourselves too much with appealing crosses, their appalling origin as an executioner’s instrument covered up by gold, their weight imperceptible around our necks. The Gospel’s truth is this. If it does not require us to risk our reputation, our comfort, our freedom, or our very lives for the sake of the least among us, it is not the cross of Christ.
Matthew’s arc of the way of the cross invites today’s disciples to move from human ways of thinking, where crosses remain pretty pieces of art, to God’s ways of thinking, where the cross bears the tremendous mystery and trembling beauty of Christ, dead and risen.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash.