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IN DYING WE FIND TRUE LIFE
Today’s readings are Ezra 4, Psalm 113, 127, and Luke 9. We are reading from the New Living Translation
If you hang on to your life, making it about you, insisting on your way, you will lose your way. In the end, all your effort to gain, will be a loss. The world’s siren song is self and success. We think these are the marks of real living – the fruit of our hard work – the result of our cunning, our sweat, and our dedication. The world tells us that we win and live, with big bank accounts, big churches and big egos. That’s the way of the world and too often, that can become the way of our churches. But Jesus points to something else. He points to the way of His Kingdom. He says that we can gain all of the world and lose our soul, in the end.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Mk 8:36 NLT)
The way to live, and to win, in his kingdom, is to daily take up a cross. People who carry crosses are giving evidence of their death. Jesus says,
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. (Jn 12:24 NLT)
The life released in death, is released in resurrection power, not the power of the flesh. And its results are abundant. The results are lives awakened to the love of the God, who comes to deliver us from our success and craving for life on our terms – that leads to nothing, in the end. Jesus shows the way to his Kingdom. He shows that the way to his life, and love, and abundance is by following Him with our cross. We must die to the siren song of self, success and the ways of the world, take up our cross and follow Him, our Example. In dying we, in the end, truly live.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Mk 8:35-36 NLT)
Resist the temptation to try to gain the whole world, but lose your own soul. Instead, let God teach you how to pick up your cross and follow him. Determine, in God’s strength, to be the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies and so that it bears much fruit – a harvest of lives awakened to the love of God – that love that died for us to set us free and make us new.
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