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Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 & 6
Luke 9:22-25
The first reading speaks a promise made by God to his faithful. God calls on the faith-
ful to keep his commandments and their descendants will be numerous and prosper-
ous. In this very short gospel passage, Jesus predicts his death. Furthermore, Jesus
tells his disciples that to follow him means to pick up one’s cross and follow.
Today is our second day of Lent. Ashes washed away, prayers, almsgiving and fasting
are part of the new forty day routine. These readings call us to shift our focus from our
worldly pursuit to the challenging Gospel invitations. While encouraging us to follow
his path, Jesus makes no excuses nor does his sugar coat the future, it is going to be a
tough road; taking up one’s cross daily is not easy. We will know of sacrifice, suffering,
but also joy and triumph.
As a child I was close with my cousin Kurt. He was just two years older than me. We
were close in age, and our families enjoyed one another so we often had an
opportunity to play, and I learned many things from my cousin. Early in my
childhood, I realized that my cousin was often given more privileges than I
and, being a competitive person, I wanted to know why. My mom shared
with me that he was diabetic. As the years rolled by, I learned what diabetes
means and I learned that Kurt’s diabetes was very complicated to control. At
one point I learned that he would not make it to adulthood. Nevertheless,
my aunt and uncle wanted to make sure Kurt got every opportunity to live,
so nothing was out of reach. Kurt was a cub scout, an athlete and member
of the band, and a scholar. The more he achieved the more I wanted to be
just like him. The first time I ever saw him sick was when he took second
place in the pinewood derby race. The blow was so disturbing that he had
an episode and had to be rushed to the hospital to regulate his sugars.
As we grew, we went to each other’s significant events like birthdays,
graduations, and other delightful gatherings. Medical advancements lead
him to lead a more normal life with the introduction of the insulin pump. He
could be more “normal.”
He got married a week after us; I remember coming home from our honey-
moon to attend his wedding. We were all so happy. Although it didn’t last