Life is the existence between our birth until our death. We live, eat, drink, sleep, work, breath… and so on. We love, laugh, cry, get angry or sad…. and it goes on. It is like the force or energy that animates our physical bodies. But many people merely exist and struggle to survive a day at a time. Some people just go with the flow of whatever comes their way. And there are some people who not only live but are also determined to have a better quality of life. Somehow, it seems that these kind of people have found the secret art of living.
In today’s first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, God says, ” I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life.” Deut. 30:19. That is clear enough; to choose life instead of death. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” Luke 9: 24. Now that got me confused! Should I choose life and loose it in order to gain it?
I don’t think that God contradicts himself in the Bible. When He says choose life, He means everything that is good and productive; all that brings growth and life and healing. And sometimes, in order to grow, we need to give up some things. We need to sacrifice and get rid of things in ourselves or in our lives, so that better things can grow out of that clearing. That’s what Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9.23.
So during this Lent, I have to ask myself once again, like a springtime general cleaning, what are the things, habits, attitudes, situations which I have to get rid of; those that bring me negativity, sickness, death; or those that don’t help me to love, to grow, nourish or improve my relationships. It is not an easy task. That is the choice I have to make and the cross I have to carry daily.