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But I Don’t Like That Cross

First Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill;
you shall not steal;
you shall not covet
,
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 112:1B-2, 4-5, 9
R. ( 5a) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

NAB

nov 4 (1)

How much do you love Him? Just enough, or until it hurts?

Six years ago, life changed in an instant. Our happy-go-lucky family had only experienced minor bumps in the road—an ill parent, a small house fire, divorces of a few close friends—but nothing that rocked us. Nothing that changed us. Nothing that required any cross carrying, of any kind. We were faithful Christians, never once dreaming a cross so utterly heavy could ever cross our paths.

We stood above our premature son’s incubator and stared down at all three pounds of him. The surgeon urged us to make a decision now. “His life depends on it,” he said. We had no idea when we said yes to life, what that yes really meant. Because for four kids it meant the usual—poopy diapers, tantrums, zero sleep, sweet cuddles, sloppy kisses and lots (and lots) of Cheerios. This yes? It required us to have a conversation I never dreamed I would have with my husband. We handed him over to the surgeon, knowing his chance of survival was 2 in 10. We looked at one another and my husband said, “We have to give him back to God, and pray He gives him back.”

That was six years ago. Today, our son is a happy, healthy, albeit tiny, six-year-old. He survived that surgery and six more, hundreds of specialist and therapy visits and tens of thousands of dollars to pay for it all. That cross has been heavy. Unbearable at times.

But when life strips you of the thing you hold most sacred, you have two choices: look at the cross and walk away, fearing its weight, or hold out your arms, accept the cross and look around for someone to help carry it. Because what you gain isn’t a new chink in the martyrdom armor, but rather a deeper, truer and more honest relationship with God. Trust me, everyone has a cross. Walking through those dark days gave me a depth of understanding for other’s crosses that can only be gained through pain and suffering. For the grace doesn’t come without pain. But, God’s grace always outweighs it. Always.

Who in your life is suffering? Who needs compassion? Step out of your comfort zone today and be Christ to someone, whether it be in a big or small way. Because, let’s be honest. When you’re Christ to someone, it’s always a big deal.

Kathryn Whitaker is married to Scott and together they have 6 awesome kids. She is a former public relations consultant turned freelance graphic designer who hails from the Lone Star state. You can find more about her here.

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