Step #1: Lectio / Read
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Whenever I read this, I judge the Disciples so badly...
Jesus tells them quite bluntly, "They're going to kill me and then I'm going to rise." The Disciples are just like, "I wonder what he means by that?" How dense can the Disciples be??? I mean, he didn't use a parable or anything, He just explicitly told them what was going to happen to Him.
It makes me think of being a parent, and how often my kids just don't seem to understand the simplest things. Like when I have to stand there and remind my children five times in a row to put their underwear on.
But remember, the Disciples don't yet understand why Jesus came. We do. I think that's why it's easy to judge.
In Jesus' time, the Messiah was supposed to liberate the Jewish people and set them as a world power. So if the Disciples are starting to believe that Jesus might be the Messiah, it makes sense that they're confused. How could the Messiah free the Jewish people if He's dead? How could that possibly be part of God's plan? They wanted to avoid the cross. So they were like, "Oh, He's just speaking in vague parables and exaggerated imagery again. That Jesus, what a prankster!"
I have a temper. It mostly comes out at home. I often yell at our kids for insignificant reasons. Much of the time I parent selfishly. I lack a great deal of patience. For me, one of the hardest things about being a parent is that I'm not the great dad that I've always dreamed I was going to be. I'm doing my best, but God has chosen to let me struggle with my temper still. This is one of my biggest crosses, and I often try to avoid it, ignore it or explain it away.
How could this cross possibly be part of God's plan for me?
But it is.
What about you? What part of God's plan for you is hard to accept? What crosses do you avoid? Like the Disciples, do you ever struggle to take Jesus at His word? Do you think to yourself, "How could these crosses possibly be part of God's plan for me? It's too hard! There must be another way..."
Let's not avoid our crosses any more. That is the way Jesus chose. And He calls us to pick up our crosses and follow Him.
STep #3: Oratio / Pray
"But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him."
What part of God's plan for you is hard to accept? In other words, what crosses is He asking you to carry?
Share with Jesus your fears about your crosses. Remember, He's been there. He gets it.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with courage and love to carry your crosses. Not to avoid them, ignore them or explain them away.
Talk to our Lord about what small steps you can take to carry your cross a little more willingly today.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Jesus, help me carry my cross."
"I will follow you, Lord."
"Holy Spirit, give me courage."
For the Rest of Your Day...
Take that one small step to carry your cross today. Consider that maybe this cross is no accident, but part of a lovingly prepared plan our Lord has for you.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff.