Our first reading today is from 2 John. This is the shortest book in the Bible, just 13 verses. But what a power-packed 13 verses! St. John writes, “For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments.” He then talks about those who would lead people astray. “Anyone who is so ‘progressive’ as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God.” Let us be sure that we always remain in the teaching of Christ (as given through His Church).
In the Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus talks about what it will be like “on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” A few years back, there was a popular book and movie series called Left Behind. They were based in part on these passages. Jesus goes on to explain why this would happen. “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.”
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 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.