Today on the Sunday after The Holy Cross the Gospel reading comes to us from Mark 8:34-38;9:1. In this pericope Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios shares with us a message of hope, that the crosses or personal difficulties we encounter in our lives are given to each of us as a responsibility, but not higher than our ability. He reminds us that we are powerful beings created special with the gift of freedom, which is different from all of creation and makes us responsible to our fellow man and the universe. God respects our freedom and if we chose to follow Him we must live lives of humility forgetting self or ego. Everything impossible with humans is possible with God and through prayer we can ask for help in controlling our passions and ego and thereby build good relationships with those we encounter in our daily lives. His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios reminds us that the invitation from God is for those who want to follow Him and take seriously the responsibility we have as Orthodox Christians to fulfill our obligations of taking up our crosses, following Jesus Christ, and loving others living in peace and harmony.