Summary: As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I focus on many temporary things rather than focusing on Christ’s mission to build the Kingdom of God on this earth permanently.
Lose Your Life to Find the Life
There was a priest, who was transferred from a parish.
On his farewell day, he spoke for 45 minutes blowing his own trumpet that I have done this, I have done that, I started this, I started that.
I went around preaching in many parishes and they all liked me and my sermons.
There are many people from different parishes in this crowd, who have come to bid me farewell and so on and on...
He went on self-praising what he thought, were his achievements as a priest.
What would have Jesus said if He would have been present for this farewell programme listening to this priest, who focused so much on his self rather than God’s gift and grace?
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I focus on myself and on my selfish motives.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I use the title as a ‘priest’ to earn name and fame.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to be a famous person using the Church pulpit.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to be popular among rich and well to do families.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to hold high posts and fight for it.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I long for my self-glory.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am proud of my self-righteousness.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I focus on many temporary things rather than focusing on Christ’s mission to build the Kingdom of God on this earth permanently.
Jesus questions and challenges these kinds of attitude and behaviour of self-glorification and self-righteousness in each one of us.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew (10:37):
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Generally, these words emphasis that we have to love Jesus more than anyone.
Here, I would like to interpret that tied to our own blood relations and limiting our love only to our near and dear ones, is being ‘selfish’.
It reveals that the self is more dominant in each one of us.
It reveals that the self is more destructive.
It reveals that it is a human attitude.
It reveals that it is a human behaviour.
It reveals that we cannot deny the self.
That is the reason, Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew (10:38):
whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
The self is a cross hanging in our life till we die.
When I say ‘till we die’ I am not referring to the physical death here.
I mean emphatically that dying to the ‘self’.
Dying to the self, is the new life.
Saint Paul (Romans 6:3-4), reminds us that:
“Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.”
We have a new life.
In other words, we have newness of life in Christ through our baptism.
This newness of life, leads each of Christ’s disciples to live a holy life like Elisha, who was called as a holy man of God as we read from the second book of Kings (2 Kings 4:9).
While we lead a holy life changing our former ways to newness of life, our life no longer cling to the self as we read:
“We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him ( Romans 6:9).”
What does it mean?
It means that we no longer go back to the self, self-righteous, and self-glorification in our life.
We always focus on a holy life, loving all and carrying our cross (the self) every day as Jesus says (Matthew 10:39):
“Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The self loses itself.
The life finds itself.
What is the reward that I receive losing my self, losing my life and finding the life, a holy life as a disciple of Christ?
I can categorically say that we receive many rewards in our life.
We find meaning to our life.
We find peace in our life.
We find the life for God in Jesus Christ.
In addition, we read from the second book Kings (2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a) that Shunem honoured the prophet Elisha and the prophet promised, “This time next year, you will be fondling a baby son.”