Daily Reflection
June 27th, 1999
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a
Rom 6:3-4, 8-11
Mt 10:37-42
  If you love anyone more than me, you are not worthy of me.
  If you do not take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of me.
  If you find your life, you will lose it.
  If you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.
Jesus makes it so clear and simple for us.  He loves us completely, giving his life for our freedom from sin and death.  His total gift of himself is to win our hearts completely.

We know that when we love others in Jesus, everything is in balance.  We also know that our faith doesn't work when our love for anyone somehow competes with our love for Jesus.  Jesus puts our loving in perspective.  He says: Let my love fill your heart.  Love me with all your heart.  And, then I will transform all your loving of others.

Jesus invites us to love the way he loves.  He invites us to carry the cross of love.  We know that trying to love, without self sacrifice always gets us into trouble.  It is too easy to confuse why we are loving.  Love often begins with a good bit of "self" wrapped up in it - I love the other because the other makes me feel good or happy.  At its worst, my relationship with the other can become totally selfish - about my needs or about control or manipulation of the other.  Jesus guides us in the way of true loving - self-emptying gift of self for the other.

The greatest frustration of life is to pursue happiness by trying to fill myself, feed myself, take care of myself.   It always leaves me somehow "empty," with a hollow craving for more.  We know this from our life experience: we have never met a self-centered happy person.

The greatest irony of life is that my greatest happiness is to be found in what I seem to fear the most - losing myself.  When my heart becomes more filled with Jesus, and becomes more focused on being for others, I really begin to find myself.  Self-sacrificing love gives me self-esteem, self-confidence, self-identity.  We know this from life experience, too: we never met a self-forgetful person, who loves others freely, who is unhappy.

It is a great week to examine the loves of my heart, to ask that they be more and more "in Jesus" and ask that my loving might be more and more self-less and free.


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