My Mom was a seamstress and a cook. My Dad was a coal miner and a construction worker. I carried newspapers six days a week throughout high school. And I worked in a supermarket on top of that. But we always went to Mass on Sunday! That was our day of rest, and we sure needed it and appreciated it!
If we are striving to live a disciple’s way of life, it’s not going to be easy. It’s a labor everyday! Dying to self and living for Christ and others is tough. It’s the work of a lifetime. But in the end, it’s the only work that really matters and the only life that truly satisfies.
Our Gospel passage, from Saint Matthew, reflects this challenge. Jesus tells His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” This sounds harsh. Why would anyone want to do this?
Our Lord has the answer, of course. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
It’s all about love. Jesus loved (and loves) us totally, giving us all of Himself on the Cross, in His Word, and in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.
And so we must choose: love of self, or love of God and others — which is tough, but fulfilling and leads to the eternal reward of heaven. Jesus promises that He “will come with his angels in his Father’s glory and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
Let us make the tough choice to lose our life for Christ’s sake in grateful response to His love. Honestly, what better life could there be?
Fr Mark Zacker