Living for Others (Mar. 22, 2015)

Sunday’s reading from John’s Gospel has that bewildering sentence: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” This is a saying that occurs numerous times in the Gospel, so it’s obviously a key part of Jesus’ preaching. Yet we know Jesus as a man who absolutely loved life and lived it to the max.

Maybe it would help to put things into a different perspective by posing the question “why are we here what are we made for what will make life good?”

I think our answers fit into two categories.

One answer says the best possible way to live is to live for myself, and look out for Number One. The world and its peoples are there to serve me.

The other answer says “I will find the best possible life by living for the well-being of other people.” We might never have thought about life like this, but in the end, I think we all come down on one side or the other.

One view: life is about me. I am at the center. I am the most important person in the whole world. Or, the other view: I can only really ever become me, and become fully human, what Jesus called complete by giving up my focus on #1 and living for the benefit of all the earth and all people.

If we live life with the idea that we are Number One, and that we are the most important person in the world, we wall ourselves off from eternal life. God will keep breaking that wall down, but we will build it up, constantly.

The more we live for others, and for God, and for all earth, the longer and more constant will be our glimpses of eternal life. We begin to live a life of a different quality, a different order. Sinners that we are, though, we’ll keep trying to live for ourselves, but more and more we come to see it is just not worth the effort it takes. Living for me takes a lot of energy, with no return. Living for others takes just as much, if not more energy, but the returns are out of this world!

Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!

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