This section of Luke’s gospel focuses on Jesus’ identity. Two days ago King Herod asks: “Who is this about whom I hear such things?” In yesterday’s gospel Peter declares Jesus to be the “Messias of God.” Today we read that “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” Luke then tells us that people did not understand this saying…and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Perhaps this last phrase offers a personal challenge: we hear lots about Jesus.We turn to him in prayer with all our needs. But what happens when the pinch of the cross confronts us? We don’t understand–did I do something wrong? Am I being punished? What do I do now? Perhaps this is the exact moment when we need to ask Jesus about this share in his cross. Could it be that Jesus offers this ‘cross moment’ as a way to experience the hope of his resurrection? So can I trust Jesus enough to follow him through this “narrow gate” (as Pope Francis calls it)?


An added note: next week Pope Francis has his first meetings with his new group of eight Cardinal advisors. They all go to Assisi on Friday Oct. 4 to pray for peace and celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Let us plan to support them with our prayers during these important days..

—the Jesuit prayer team