What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
Jesus is in private prayer and conversation with his disciples today and he asks them not only who people think that he is but who these, his closest followers, believe that he is. And they get it right. Then Jesus gives a prediction of his passion week and tells all of us what it takes to be a disciple of his: deny ourselves,take up our cross daily and follow him. To save our life we must lose it and by losing our life for Jesus we save it.
We are back to ordering our priorities around Jesus and the example he sets for us. At the root of this is love: love for God and love for our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is so dramatically simple and so impossibly hard to accomplish. 2000 years of history has shown this to be the case. That being said, this does not mean that we should stop trying, stop being involved, stop our efforts at deciphering what our individual crosses are that we need to take up daily and follow down the path Jesus is leading us.
I think Jesus knew our limitations, and although dramatic breakthroughs can and do happen, small steps are what are called for here. If we can each take small steps toward carrying those individual crosses, we will be effectuating the creation of the kingdom of God Jesus announces today, and we will be gaining the whole world - a world we are helping to make.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.