Today is Palm or Passion Sunday. As I sat in Mass this morning and listened to the reading of Christ’s Passion narrative from Mark, I was especially caught up today with the image of Jesus in the garden wrestling with His own will. He did NOT want to die. He really wanted all of it to just go away. But, instead of giving into His own desires, He turned His will to His Father’s and willingly walked back and faced what He knew was coming. Then, the walk. The walk of all walks. The walk to His death which would lead eventually to His resurrection. But, that walk! Wow. What a walk it was carrying that cross which pushed Him to the brink of His ability. A walk surrounded by jeering people and people wanting you dead. Just imagining what that walk would have been like is enough to make me want to become an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. But, no. We can’t do that.
No, instead of ignoring and trying to block out what is going on during that walk, we need to embrace it. We are told that to follow Christ, we must also carry our own cross. To carry my own cross, doesn’t just mean that I put a crucifix around my neck and go along my merry way through life. No. It means that when life gets tough and my will wants to turn tail and run away versus facing the tough times, I need to quiet my own will and turn to God’s will. If that means turning and facing down a giant or a giant of a problem, that is what I must do.
This especially speaks to me right now as my doctor sat down and had a long talk with me a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t pull punches and called it like it is. In truth, I am obese and am beginning to experience many of the early problems of the obese including insulin resistance, GIRD, varying blood pressure and more. So, he presented an option to me to consider. It includes a strict diet and many life changes. This means changing my routines, my cooking habits, my shopping habits, our meal “culture”, and so much more. The promises that come with the program though are huge. Especially huge to someone who has struggled with weight issues for as long as I can remember. All of this is overwhelming and the only way that I can look at it and even attempt it is with the understanding that I truly believe that this is God’s will. After really questioning whether to do it or not and praying about it (including asking for a sign that this was the right path), I had two independent doctors tell me that it was a good program and something I should seriously consider. So, my cross has been handed to me and I am facing the path. I know that pain will be part of it (daily needle sticks are not my idea of fun) and jeering from those who seem to want me to fail. But, if I keep my eyes on Jesus and God’s will, I know I can do anything.
Looking at any struggle in light of Jesus’ journey with the cross is comforting. Even Christ fell along the way and He needed help from Simon. So, when we need some encouragement and picked up when we fall, it’s okay! Just keep getting up and heading to the finish. For the resurrection isn’t possible until the cross had completed its journey to the top of the hill. That is what we need to set our eyes on. The finish and the glory of God’s promises that await us!