This week we hear about taking up our crosses and following Jesus. We begin in Isaiah once again this time hearing from the Third Servant Song. It begins by asking the Lord to open our ears so that we may hear and continues saying that “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheek to those who pluck my beard, my face I do not shield from buffets and spitting.”Several times in this reading Isaiah say that The Lord is my help. It is because of this ridicule that the Lord is our help, we as Christians experience the same abuse as Jesus did before the cross but we are given strength knowing that Christ endured and so can we. Making our way back to the letter of James we skip a few verses from last week and continue with James asking us “What good is faith without works?” This is basically the classic fake St. Francis quote “Preach the Gospel at all time, use words sparingly”, it boils down to the idea that if you are a person with good faith, you are more apt to do some good deeds as well, James uses the idea of someone who has nothing to wear and no food to eat, and we aren’t going to say to them “keep warm” or “eat well” people of faith are going to need to do something here.
Turning to the Gospel of Mark we hear a connected story. Jesus asks his disciple “Who do the people say that I am?” they reply that “Some say John the Baptist, other Elijah, and still other one of the other prophets.” They Jesus turn the question of them asking “Who do you say that I am” Peter answers “You are the Christ”. The Jesus tells them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly, die and on the third day rise again. Peter isn’t to happy about this and he rebukes Jesus, Jesus then spins around and rebukes Peter saying “Get behind me Satan”. Then they gather a crowd and Jesus tells everyone whoever wants to follow me must deny themselves take up their cross and follow. It’s rather simple to get into heaven it will take some work since you are going to have to face some struggles people will scorn and mock you for what you do but as long as you continue doing good deeds you’ll have a good shot.