God made it clear again and again that sacrifices and offerings were worthless to him if they were not backed up by living out his commands. Want more? Just read today’s first reading from Isaiah 1.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus finishes His instructions to the Apostles as He sends them out. Among other things, He says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” What about this idea of losing our lives for Jesus? Is Jesus speaking of physical death? Perhaps, but maybe there’s more. Consider this.
This is a mandate to stop our selfish behavior. When Jesus talks about preserving our lives, He is talking about thinking only of ourselves. This kind of thinking and behavior will keep us from heaven. It is the antithesis of love. Love is being other-centered. It is about losing ourselves; losing our lives. As St. Francis prayed, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Not just physical death, but death to our own selfish desires.
Father, help us today to lose our lives. Let us be caught up wholly in you, that we might die to self so that we may love more fully. Amen.