In the first reading today from Acts 15, the Apostles and presbyters choose Barsabbas and Silas to travel with Paul and Barnabas to take a message clarifying the position of the Church on some disputes that had arisen. For the Gospel reading today, we’re back in John 15, where Jesus says, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Laying down one’s life. Usually when we think of this, we think of some really heroic act. A soldier falls on a grenade to save the lives of his brothers in arms. A woman runs into traffic to push her child away from an oncoming car and gets hit herself. St. Maximillian Kolbe, who offered his own life so that a Jewish man in the concentration camp with him could live for his wife and children. Certainly these are all what Jesus was referring to. But I believe we can take a much broader view of this.
A mom forgoes those new shoes she had her eye on because the kids need some clothes for school. A dad puts in overtime to make extra money so that his son can work with a speech therapist. A teenager gives up her seat on the bus so that an elderly woman can sit down. These are all small ways that we can “lay down our lives,” or die to self. How many opportunities can you find today to show love for others by dying to self? Even though no one on the planet may notice, I can assure you that God is smiling at you.
Father, help us today to lay down our lives, to die to self. Show us ways that we can show our love for others, that we may show our love for you. Amen.