Offer life if you don’t want to lose it
“In the days of trouble” (Ps 77:3) we call upon the Lord, because we are convinced that “he gives life and breath and everything else to everyone” (Acts 17:25). We appeal to the saints, visit shrines, kiss relics, make novena …. always to have life.
The crowds were seeking Jesus, “they tried to dissuade him from leaving” (Lk 4:42). They touched him “because of the power that went out from him and healed them all” (Lk 6:19). They approach him for life. “I have come—he said—that they may have life, life in all its fullness” (Jn 10, 10).
Yet in his proposal, there is something of a paradox, indeed, absurd. To achieve the life it is necessary to lose it, “I lay down my life to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down freely” (Jn 10:17-18). He justifies his choice of comparing himself to the seed: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).
It really takes a lot of faith to be convinced that, in order to have life, you have to “give it up to death” (Rev 12:11). Strange, disconcerting logic! God assures Abraham a posterity as numerous as the stars in the sky … and asks him to sacrifice his son Isaac, who should make the promise a reality. A test like this may well be faced only by one who firmly believes, like Abraham.
Jesus promises to introduce the disciple into life. “The one who follows me will have the light of life … will never see death … will never experience death” (Jn 8:12, 51-52) … and goes toward the cross; he plunges into the waters of death.
But “he will re-emerge” on Easter Day. Blessed are those who have the courage to follow him: he will give them to eat of the “tree of life” (Rev 2:7). They will be with him forever (1 Thes 4:17) and they shall see God as he is (1 Jn 3:2).
To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”