07 Mar 2019: Pain and Pleasure

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Reading 1: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Gospel: Luke 9:22-25

What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?

When did you last think about your death? Did you see a purpose in it? Are you aiming for it? Death is a happy event, in our faith. Preparing for it is called “exercise for a happy death.”

Jesus knew that his death would be violent, but also a happy one! Had he not seen it that way, he would have run away from it. ‘Start with the end in mind’ – was the mantra that guided his marvellous life.

There is a difference between living and surviving. What is the point of surviving for a few years? Animals do that. And when they die they do not know why they lived and why they die.

Living on the other hand, is quite different. To “live” is to be alive to everything around you – to respond to people, to purposefully influence events. This is the way to give a meaning to your life. Otherwise, it is as good as not living – that is, losing it.

Taking up the daily cross: The ‘cross’ is always seen as problem, pain and suffering. No! It is to be perceived as a tool of service and love, a weapon of war. Then it becomes meaningful to carry it, and carry it daily, after the example of Jesus.

The Cross, therefore is a Grace! A Chinese proverb says that if there were no pain at all in the world, we would not know what pleasure is! How true! Imagine a body that cannot feel pain! Probably it is afflicted with leprosy! Pain is a sign of the health of a body and a warning that something is going wrong. The cross, is hence, a gift given to us. Woe to anyone who throws it away. Without the cross, the duty to labour for love, God would deprive us of true meaning in our life. That is why the cross is a grace!

Moses said to the people: “See, today I set before you, life and prosperity, death and disaster. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God … you will live…” And the commandment of the Lord is to Love, and to carry its tool, the cross!

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