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Reflection by Rev. Dn. Paul Zaharas, Chancellor,  
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver 

Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. —Mark 9:34–35

At the mid-point of our Lenten journey, the Church strengthens and fortifies us by calling to mind Christ’s precious and life-giving Cross. This Sunday’s Gospel passage reminds us that following Christ—walking the path of salvation is not easy, but rather involves sacrifice. Following Him comes at a personal cost, and each one of us is asked to endure our own unique difficulties. We are called to bear our own cross in imitation of the Savior, in humility and seeking God’s mercy.

When we commemorate the Cross on this third Sunday of the Great Fast, and as we venerate it for its power and role in Christ’s victory over death, let us also think about the cost of following Him. Let us consider the price of serving our Lord and the fruit that our own personal sacrifices, for the sake of others, will bring: “For whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).

When we serve our brothers and sisters in need, we offer our gifts and ourselves to Christ Himself. Through our selfless acts we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord, and in this way heed His command.

Christ our God, teach us to humbly bear our cross as we seek to follow You. Give us eyes to see where need exists and generosity to serve as You served. Through the power of Your precious Cross, grant to us Your great mercy and teach us to embody Your compassion.

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