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WHOEVER WOULD SAVE HIS LIFE, WILL LOSE IT
Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Thursday, after Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2009
Dt 30:15-20; Ps 1; Lk 9:22-25


"...whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it" (Lk 9:24).


Here we have displayed before us the two ways, the way of life, and the way of death. If we choose the way of losing our life in this world for the love of Christ, we will have chosen the way of life, and we will save our life with God. But if we choose the way of saving our life in this world, which is the way of filling our life with the unnecessary pleasures of this world, we will have chosen the way of death, and we will lose our life with God. God has set before us "life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you...may live" (Dt 30:19). "For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it" (Lk 9:24).


The way of life is the way of renouncing the unnecessary delights of this world, for these are idols and false gods that attract and distract us from the true way of life, which is the way of loving only the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength (Mk 12:30). This is the first commandment. We are not to allow ourselves to be distracted from this true way of life. We are to serve only one Lord, only one Master. We cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24). And we are to serve him with an undivided heart, with all our heart.


To also serve the unnecessary pleasures of this life is to serve another master, is to adore an idol; it is to divide our heart; it is to choose the way of death, for we are trying to save our life in a worldly way. He who tries to save his life in this way, will lose it. "...whoever will save his life will lose it," says Jesus (Lk 9:24). We must rather hate our life in this world, and not love it in this false and worldly way, for "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for everlasting life," says Jesus (Jn 12:25).


How many love their lives in this world in this way? Many! The great majority! We are not to follow their example. We are rather to choose the way of life, not the way of spiritual death. We are to choose the way of blessings, and not the way of the curse. We are to choose the narrow and difficult way of life, not the broad and easy way of destruction (Mt 7:13-14). We are to choose the more difficult way of life, of obedience to the will of God, the way of loving God with an undivided heart. And this way of life is the way of losing our life for the love of Christ, the way of renouncing idols and false and strange gods, it is the way of the renunciation of the unnecessary delights of this world and of this creation, for the sake of those of the Kingdom of God and of the new creation. So "choose life, that you...may live" (Dt 30:19).


 

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