Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

By Mary Niebler

“If you aren’t outraged, you are not paying attention.” These were the last words Heather Heyer posted on Facebook (originally attributed to a variety of sources) before her untimely death on August 12. Heyer, of Charlottesville, VA, was killed as she stood in solidarity for peace, against white supremacist demonstrators in her hometown.

Today’s readings call us to radical action. Jesus says that to follow him, one must deny oneself. “Take up your cross and follow me.” The readings speak to personal sacrifice. To answering a call. To stepping outside of oneself for a greater cause. Jesus calls us to solidarity with him. Solidarity with Jesus is achieved through solidarity with one another.

In his 2014 message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis speaks to a lack of this solidarity today: “The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity.” Now is the time to pay attention. Your cause may be as simple helping out someone struggling in a class, or donating money to Hurricane Harvey relief, or volunteering your time to those in need in our community. Little causes may then become working toward systemic change in an unjust society.

In a world where there seems to be so much struggle, let’s take up the cross together and build a culture of solidarity.

Mary Niebler

Coordinator Cross-Cultural Immersion Program

University of Dayton



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