Today on this 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Mark, the Gospel writer, challenges us in several ways on our faith journey. We are challenged to be clear about who we say Jesus is and in what ways we are called to follow Him in our lives. Do we have the right words but our actions don’t match? Do we put our own ideas ahead of Christ’s message and forget to follow in His ways? Through our Baptisms we are called to be disciples and not just trust in God’s saving power but actively live it out in the world. Following Jesus isn’t always going to be easy, Jesus had to carry his own cross to the place where he would be killed. But his reaction to the cross was authentic to the way he lived and taught. We, too, are called to be authentic in the way we live our Christian lives – to look for peaceful and powerful ways to respond to the challenges in our homes, communities, society and environment. I don’t think we are called to take up our cross as an example of shouldering suffering and pain, but rather as an example of engaging with joy and profound hope in bringing the reality of Christ’s message of love and peace to broken and hurting people and situations. Which, is certainly not to say that it is easy.