Thursday after Ash Wednesday — 27th February 2020 — Lk 9,22-25
Living God’s values
Jesus’ passion prediction ends with the most puzzling paradox of all: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Jesus defines discipleship as a contrast between human values and God’s values. According to human values, one’s own life comes first. We might be kind and generous and thoughtful toward others, yet cultural norms dictate the priority of our own safety or privilege or physical comfort. Jesus advocates risking one’s life for the sake of another. In other words be willing to lose one’s life for his sake in order to save it. Jesus, who represents God’s values, is best summed up by the willingness to risk one’s own life for the sake of others. Jesus does not encourage suffering for its own sake, nor does he recommend acceptance of forced servitude. To give one’s life for Jesus’ sake is the valid reason for self-sacrifice and Jesus is an example par excellence. Jesus invites his disciples to follow him, to be willing to risk our lives for the sake of others. There is no benefit in gaining the entire world – values and aspirations as people define them – if in so doing one forfeits one’s deepest soul. In the clash between human values and God’s values, ultimately nothing in this world is worth exchanging for one’s self. Self-renunciation for the sake of the gospel is neither futile nor masochistic. Only by giving ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself for us will we ever find ourselves.