Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 9,22-25

He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.' Then, speaking to all, he said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it. What benefit is it to anyone to win the whole world and forfeit or lose his very self?

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The passage of the Gospel of Luke puts us on the path to this time of Lent. In this time, it is worth reflecting on the responsibility that each of us has: the choice of the path of good or evil. Jesus himself returns to this subject in the passage we have read, saying, "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it." Obviously, we all strive to think about ourselves, to save us from any difficulty, problem and distress, and most of all to pursue our self-affirmation. It is the evil instinct of self-love that is rooted in the heart of every human being. This instinct that drives us to think only of ourselves, is accompanied by the disregard of others, and often even hostility and violence against them, especially if we feel them as potential competitors or enemies. But in this way, we all lose. Love for ourselves leads inexorably to lose peace and even life. On the contrary, those who spend their lives to build a better world, earn for themselves and also others, life. Jesus warns: "What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?" Thirst of gain at any cost has become a fever that never leaves us and leads us to ruin. How many lives are sacrificed on the altar of profit! How many families and relationships are burned to give primacy to gain! Jesus teaches another way. And he does not teach with words, but by his example. He goes to Jerusalem to save us, to love us, even though this choice also involves suffering and death. But on the "third day" Jesus will be risen, and the new kingdom of love will start. Jesus is not the powerful and strong Messiah people would like. He came to give his life as a ransom for all. His strength is that of that of love that knows no bounds. Turning to all those who follow him, Jesus explains what are the demands of following the Gospel: moving away from selfishness, giving up exclusive self-love, abandoning self-centred habits and adopting Jesus' very lifestyle, i.e. living no longer for themselves, but for the Gospel and the poor. This is the meaning of the exhortation to deny oneself and take up one's cross. It is the way of the true gain. Those who want to save their life, that is their habits and self-centred traditions, will lose it. And just the opposite as well: those who become impassioned for the Gospel and for the poor will find rich and full lives again.