The gospel lectionary reading for Lent 2 in Year B is Mark 8.31-38, Jesus’ call on all those who would follow him to ‘take up their cross’ and walk the path that he did. This includes one of the first verses I learnt by heart as a new Christian (Mark 8.34), but it is also the subject of much misunderstanding. On the one hand, the phrase ‘to take up one’s cross’ or ‘bear a cross’ has in common parlance been detached from the question of following Jesus and is now used to mean ‘carry any burden in life’. On the other hand, some traditions of Christian reading suggest that we are saved by suffering as in this Russian orthodox post:
Following Christ does not necessarily mean more happiness or less suffering. In Christ, any happiness and suffering we experience will find its fulfillment. We can share our joy with those around us, especially those who are suffering, in this way co-suffering with them. And when we suffer, we can let others co-suffer with us.
We should take comfort in the fact that Christ saved us by suffering for us. Suffering is salvific.
We need to look carefully at what Jesus is saying here, in the context of the narrative of this section and the whole gospel.
Here is my video commentary. If you think others would find it helpful, you can use the Share button on the YouTube site, and to catch future videos click Subscribe at the end of the video or on the YouTube page.