Living in the Shadow of the Cross
In today’s Gospel from the Mass (Luke 9:22-25), Jesus discloses that He is living in the Shadow of the Cross:
 [Jesus said to His disciples], “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”  And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? “
Christ’s words demonstrate both His Divine Omniscience but also His human courage as He lives in the Shadow of the Cross:
- Jesus knows that the Incarnation will lead Him to the Cross; this passage in Luke is the first of a number of disclosures about the Passion (Luke 9:44; 12:50; 17:25; 18:31-33). Jesus’s statement in today’s Gospel occurs in 28 A.D., 2 years before His Passion.
- It is important to realize that these are not “predictions”; there is no uncertainty here, just fact: Jesus will die on the Cross, and He knows it. Jesus doesn’t do predictions; He discloses future events with 100% accuracy.
- Crucifixions were common-place in the 1st century and the Romans used these brutal killings in a very public way to keep the Jews in line. Often, the corpses of those crucified were left hanging, decomposing in public so that all could see. As a 1st century Jew in the Holy Lands, Jesus would have seen men crucified. All the disciples had.
- Yet Christ does not waiver, He does not flinch. With the courage inspired by the Father, Jesus carries on with His mission of sacrifice on the Cross.
As we read and study Scripture and participate in the Liturgy, especially during Lent, we should never forget that Christ is journeying to the Cross and He knows what the Cross means.
During the Incarnation, Christ walks in the Shadow of the Cross. Today, so do we.