In the Gospel from the Thursday’s Mass (Luke 9:22-25), Jesus instructs the disciples that they must pick up their cross and follow Jesus:
 [Jesus said to His disciples], “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”  And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? “
The words about the Cross would have shocked the disciples, but many today have trouble fully grasping the shocking idea “of picking up one’s cross”.
Here is something that will shock you:
- There is a horrific practice in some places of the world called “necklacing” where angry mobs take revenge by putting a car tire filled with gasoline around the neck of a condemned person, and then light it on fire: The person is consumed in flames as the car tire rubber burns red hot around their neck. It is gruesome; just like crucifixion.
- Now, realizing what the gruesome and shocking idea of “necklacing” entails, imagine if someone said to you, “If a man is to come after me, he must pick up his car tire daily and follow me.”
If the words of Jesus Christ don’t shock you, you haven’t fully grasped their meaning.
Perhaps picking up a tire might help.