Homily on the Third Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross.
Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
We deny ourselves those things that lead us into sin. This sounds easy, but it isn't.
We fight/play as we train. When we fast, we are denying ourselves something good – why?
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
Losing our life.
This is poetic language. The life we lose is the one that isn't worth living. It's joys, such as they are, are temporary and counter-productive. The life we are giving up is the one that leads to annihilation of the good within us.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
We give up our desire to gain victory to THIS WORLD – a world that groans in sin – so that we can gain victory through Jesus Christ. This world will destroy our souls if we submit ourselves to its logics and its promises.
The Way that Jesus offers to us goes against the logic of the world, but it protects the soul and brings the kind of contentment, joy, and victory that lasts forever.
The whole lesson began with the words “if you would follow me (come after me)...”
The Way that Christ walked is hard: the symbol we use to represent it is the cross. But remember where the road He walked led. It did not end at the cross, but went through the cross, through the Resurrection, to the Ascension into glory.
He did not blaze this trail for Himself – He was returning to the place that was His from before the beginning.
He blazed the trail for us. Now all we have to do is follow in His footsteps.
May God strengthen us as we travel together along The Way.