Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. …”

Mat 16:24-28

I discovered the artist Erik Ravelo this morning on Facebook. A Cuban artist, he created a series entitled Los Intocables (The Untouchables) to raise our awareness about the violence done to children, such as pedophilia in the church, the theft of organs in Brazil, child prostitution in Thailand, as well as violence and killings perpetrated in war times (Syria). This series fits today’s gospel.

Crosses come in so many varieties. Maybe if I realized sooner that a situation I am living right now is in fact a ‘cross’, I could carry it with more strength and dignity, knowing that I am not carrying it alone, but with the One who never stops inviting me to come after Him and deny myself.

Sometimes my cross is just being myself, caught into the moving sands of my false self. For some women and men, their physical beauty is their cross, as they are really objects to those who meet them. One’s sex orientation, one’s gender, one’s likes and dislikes can be a cross. One’s health, one’s marriage, one’s job… Poverty, abuse, addiction, discrimination, bullying… One’s opinions can be a cross to others…

It is good every evening to close the day reviewing all the reasons to be thankful for what happened, all those encounters with Godde, whether in a friend, a child, a pet, a sunrise or a sunset, a phone call, or some news on TV. It is healthy to look at one’s day and retrieve those moments when I failed the vocation Godde called me to. It is just now that I realize that I can also sift through the day to find out that moment when indeed I took up my cross and followed him. For often the day gives me an opportunity to turn to Him and say, Here I am, Lord.

One with you in Him.

Art: Erik Ravelo, War in Syria