“We all have our cross to bear” or “That’s my cross to carry” are sayings that have come into the English language from today’s Gospel passage. It may even be similar in other languages I suppose.
Usually this saying will refer to some problem in life that someone has to put up with. Saying “We all have our cross to bear” when someone complains about something in their life is not particularly sympathetic of course. It suggests burdens are part of everyone’s life and the person should just get on with things and stop complaining.
Jesus didn’t mean to indicate something that doesn’t work out well in life, some problem that had to be tolerated when he talked about taking up the cross. The cross in his time was an instrument of the worst possible way to put someone to death. It was long, drawn out, humiliating and very painful. It could last several days. A person was forced to carry the cross which would kill them, to where they would be executed. As they staggered through the streets, onlookers would shout insults at them and mock them, something that we know continued while crucifixion took place also. Continue reading