Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
The gift of self!
Jesus gives us an alternative way of viewing the world and living in it. Give yourselves away, he says. Love others. Put others first. Life is not about how much stuff we accumulate, what positions we climb to, or the number of people over whom we have authority. On the contrary. The life that Jesus invites us to is counter-cultural. Be humble. Be compassionate. Be kind and gentle and patient. The world may laugh at us and misunderstand us when we seek to incarnate the Gospel values. But our hearts are filled, our deepest desires met, when we give the gift of self.
I’ve seen this reality lived out by the modern-day saints that inspire my life – Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Jean Vanier, Mother Teresa. And by the “lesser known” saints who challenge me to live my faith to its fullest – Brother Denny, Bill Pauly, Shawn and Stephanie Storer. I am reminded that the path of discipleship, the path of “downward mobility,” is a joyful and mysterious walk that we can only take in the good company of others. Only in community can we have the strength and inspiration to take up our daily crosses and live the counter-cultural life that is life in Christ!
Who inspires you to live the Gospel values?