God is a God of peace, but also of judgment. In the first reading today from Nahum, the prophet rejoices in the promise that the LORD would restore Israel. He also takes pleasure in the destruction of Nineveh in Assyria. The Assyrians were a brutal and ruthless people, and their destruction was seen as God’s judgment on them.
In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 16, we hear Jesus say, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” What profit, indeed? We tend to have such a narrow view of life. Though this has always been the case, part of the human condition, I think it has become even more prevalent of late. The “me generation” continues to come into full flower. We have become very shortsighted; we have lost sight of eternity.
Jesus here is encouraging us to take the long view. When we live for only at our (very brief) time on earth, always trying to satisfy the flesh, we risk losing eternal reward. It’s like investing. Any good investment adviser will tell you to take the long view. The same is true in the spiritual life. So start planning today for your retirement – from this world.
Father, help us to see past the end of our nose. Give us the grace to conduct our lives as though our eternity depended on it. Amen.