A thought on this Sunday’s readings:
“If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.”
“Jesus said to his apostles…
…Whoever finds their life will lose it,
and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
There is one thing that every person who has lived or is living has in common. We all die. Before you think that I’m being negative or that this is a depressing reflection take a moment to read on.
I heard someone say once that people have only one fear, that is the fear of death. Immediately we think of the fear of the death that is the end of our earthly existence, but we also know that we face death in many forms every day. The reason that sadness, pain and anxiety have such a profound effect on us is that these emotions are a taste of death. We are sad, suffering or worried because we fear that we are about to lose someone we love or be separated from something that is important to us. These difficult experiences are a reminder of our fear of death.
There are many other daily examples that we experience in life. Think of the relationship tensions and anxieties, the loss of work and the worry of financial insecurity. We remember too the times when we lose confidence in ourselves and fear that our reputation is under threat.
Jesus speaks to us in every one of these situations in his words – do not be afraid, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Jesus also speaks to us in the example of his life. While his followers fear that his death would mark the failure of his mission, the fact is that the crucifixion of Jesus was the event that led to the resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of the life of faith that we share.
At a parish meeting during the week as we reflected on the challenges and opportunities in our parish I pointed to the crucifix as a reminder that while it is difficult for us to struggle with challenges in our families, work and study lives and in our parish, our faith in Jesus reminds us that the experiences that feel like death are very often more like a birth offering different opportunities and invitations.