Today's gospel ends we the very familiar passage,
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
And of course making it particularly challenging is that Luke adds the word "daily." The good news is found in the second reading.
Paul is writing to a church in Galatia struggling with divisions that we see even today: the old guard vs. newly arrived, social class, and gender. Paul's response:
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person,
there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And just in case it isn't clear to the Jewish members of the community who think they have some higher rank because of their link to the original covenant, he goes on to reiterate:
And if you belong to Christ,then you are Abraham’s descendant,heirs according to the promise.
So even the newest Geek baptized into the Church is equally a child of Abraham.
It is precisely this unity that enables us to carry our cross daily, because we never do it alone. We do it as one part of the body of Christ. From the moment of your baptism, when the Holy Spirit was poured into you, it became impossible for you to ever be alone. Not only are we indelibly linked to Christ but to his body, the Church.
Just as Jesus allowed Simon of Cyrene to help him carry his cross we must not only help others, but allow others to help us. This is the only way that we can do both seemingly opposite things we are called to do as Christians.
On the one hand live in constant thankfulness, joy, and peace. On the other hand carry our cross daily.