A man walking with his shadow carrying the cross,
Photo by Kevin Carden,
Digitally mastered photograph,
Released in 2014
© Kevin Carden / GoodSalt
Carry your cross every day and follow me
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then to all he said:
‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’
Reflection on the photograph
Kevin Carden is a contemporary photographer using digitally mastered photography to produce religious images. Our photograph shows a man walking from darkness to light, holding a Bible in his left hand, and with a shadow cast on the wall depicting him carrying a cross. The man is walking upright, and showing strength, but his shadow shows him bent under the weight of his cross. A simple, effective and striking image.
So what does Christ mean when he says in today's Gospel reading that we should take up our cross 'every day'? Every day simply means that if we truly want to love Christ, then we can't really have any days off of not loving him. Taking up our cross, means saying ‘no’ to what may often seem an easier path, but it also means saying 'yes' to be at the service of Jesus... It is exactly because the call to follow Lord is to be something we do daily, that Jesus teaches us to ask the Father, ‘give us this day our daily bread’. We daily need the resources only God can provide if we are to be faithful to him every day.
Carrying our cross doesn't mean that we just resign ourselves to bear what is brought upon us (such as suffering, family loss, shame, hurt, etc…) which none of us can escape. Rather, we have to try to meet these challenges with a reflective disposition. We have to try and remain positive, finding strength in our faith to face these challenges. Every day, the Lord is calling us to follow him, and every day we try to respond to that call.
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