Saint for the day: Lawrence (c. 225 – August 10, 258)
2 Corinthians 9:6-10 – Psalm 112 – John 12:24-26
We are hearing again the theme of dying in order to live which to most of us is somehow alien. In today’s world we are bombarded with slogans like, “Live life to the full by using such and such product!” And, for most of us – even those of us who are ‘professional religious’ – death is not something that we strive toward. So what are we to do with all these teachings of Jesus about dying to self in order to live in the spirit?
In the first place we would be considered idiots if we denied that death existed or that there might be a way ‘around it.’ Jesus’ words, “if you love your life (in this world) you most certainly will lose it” need to be understood in order that we do not lose heart. When anyone speaks about ‘loving his life’ what does that person really mean?
If ‘loving our life’ means despising death then we have missed the point. After all, none of us will be able to avoid coming face to face with our own end. So what are we supposed to do?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the fact that we should place more emphasis on how we prepare to die rather than on how we expend our energy on living. Does this mean we have to become like ‘Mortisha’ and walk around dressed in black and looking like we are already dead? I think not.
When Jesus talks about ‘dying’ he most often puts it in the context of a seed falling to the earth – buried in the good soil – in order – for it to rise to a new life. So, bottom line, we need to seek that good soil. Live our life while walking on the path (or road or Way) that leads us more and more toward the Kingdom. As we make our way through life we – excuse the pun – must ‘put on a happy face.’ We’re not people who have no purpose in life but people who have come to know that, since we cannot escape death we in some way need to embrace it by a life that reflects our awareness that we are on our way to the kingdom.
Not many of us are going to be able to imitate the life of St. Lawrence and I don’t know what I would say if placed on the grill. Most likely, “Get me out of here, Lord!” So, what made it possible for him to say, rather, “I’m done. Turn me over.”
The answer has to be his relationship with the living Jesus. Losing our life in this world is to see the Glory of the next while we are on the way. Let us pray for the ability to have a peek into Heaven so that we might say, “I’m ready. Beam me up, Jesus!” Amen.