Ash Wednesday Hangover – Br. Jack Crowley 

Br. Jack Crowley headshot

Br. Jack Crowley

Luke 9:18-25

The Thursday after Ash Wednesday feels like a hangover. Shrove Tuesday is full of excitement and pancakes. Ash Wednesday is solemn and full of reflective work. Then this Thursday comes along, and it doesn’t even have its own nickname. It’s just the second day of Lent.  

In any journey, there’s always that feeling when the initial excitement of something beginning has worn off and you get a sense of how long the journey is actually going to take. It’s that part of a hike when after a mile or two you get a glimpse of the mountaintop through the trees and say oh wow, that’s a long way from here. 

Six weeks from today, we Brothers will be sitting up here waiting for our Superior James to wash our feet. In between this Thursday after Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday, there will be six weeks of daily life and all the joys and challenges that goes with it.  

It’s with that spirit of daily life that makes the readings for two day of Lent perfect. In our Gospel this morning, Jesus tells his disciples that anyone who wants to follow him must “take up their cross daily.” I love how Jesus uses that word daily. Jesus didn’t have to include that word daily. Jesus could have just said that anyone who wants to follow him has to take up their cross. The fact that Jesus purposefully put in that word daily gets at something important to the Christian experience.  

We live out our vocations, our call to Christ, every day of our lives. We answer Jesus’ call every morning when the alarm goes off and we drag ourselves out of bed and lift up that cross one more time. We do this every morning knowing that one day we will wake up for the last time. In between now and that last day, we have a lot of daily life to live.  

The daily act of taking up our cross is not an easy one. The Christian life is not an escape from reality. The Christian life is a confrontation of reality. When we take up our cross every morning, we know full well what we are getting into. We might not know the specifics of the burdens we are going to shoulder, but we do know we are going to shoulder them.  

Amen. 

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