If we seek ourselves, we will lose ourselves
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Nahum 2:1.3.3:1-3.6-7, Mt. 16:24-28. Today's first reading describes the joy of the chosen people as they heard the proclamation that the city of Ninevah and the Assyrian nation will be destroyed. Nahum prophesied the end of the Assyrian empire and the fall of their great city of Ninevah: "We see, hear, feel all at once the terrifying assault on the city walls: the crack of the whip, the rumbling sound of wheels, horses galloping, chariots bounding, cavalry charging, the flame of the sword, the flash of the spear, many slain, heaping corpses the endless bodies to stumble on." The Assyrians will have to answer for the cruelty imposed on the chosen people of God and as they destroyed others nations. The Assyrians had bloodily destroyed many cities, now their city would be the place of the bloody deaths.
In today's Gospel, Jesus confirms the price of life to be death to self. His disciples must be willing to risk their lives in order to follow Him. Those who seek only a life of leisure and self-gratifying ways will end up losing their lives. Jesus asked what value does an easy and fun-full life have if, in the end, it costs someone eternal existence. Another way of expressing this is to say: 'If we seek ourselves only, we will lose ourselves, whereas if we reach beyond ourselves towards God and His Son Jesus we will find our true selves.' If we seek our needs and preferences, we risk losing ourselves, whereas if we look towards God, which begins by looking towards others, we will find life in this world and eternal life in the next. Jesus expressed this fundamental paradox of His teaching in another way when He asserted: “Give and it will be given to you.” In other words, it is in giving that we receive. It is only when we look beyond ourselves to others, that we experience the Lord’s own joy and life, which is a foretaste of the joy and life of the Kingdom of Heaven. Even for us in our sins, death need not mean utter annihilation and oblivion. By obediently following Jesus to death, we will not experience the ultimate death described by the Prophet. Ours will be the new, abundant life that Jesus, the Son of God, promised and gives to us.
May the Lord continue to open our minds to the reality of life and motivate us to enrich the lives of others as we walk on the path of faith! Amen!! Good morning and have a wonderful day!!!