The Second Reading speaks of new life in Christ when we are baptized into death. This baptism is one where we immerse ourselves into the death of Christ so, as St Paul says we too might walk in the newness of life. This newness of life is one which does not follow what I want. Instead, it is one of total surrender to Christ. Jesus says this in the Gospel today that we must love him more than any person we love. Discipleship is one where Jesus becomes the Lord and Master of my life.
Why should I do that when this means giving up my freedom to live my life the way I live. Jesus said whoever finds their life will lose it and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Our idea of a life where I can do whatever I want, is not the life God wants us to do. This life is not true freedom, because God’s freedom is not a freedom to do whatever I want, but freedom to be who God wants me to be. Freedom to do whatever I want will not give me life. When I do whatever I want, without consideration of God, then I will not fulfill the reason why God created me.
God did not create us at random, without a plan and without purpose. God has a plan for everyone of us and we find the true meaning of life only when we fulfill that purpose. This means I need to die to my ideas of myself, of my purpose, of my dreams, and even my idea of who God is. This is the baptism into death St Paul talks about. When I give up my ideas of myself, my purpose, my dreams and my ideas of God, and I take on God’s ideas of me, God’s purpose for me, God’s dreams for me and God himself, I walk in the newness of life in Christ.
When I walk in the newness of life in Christ, I receive the blessings God has given me even before the foundation of the world. The blessings of God are more than what I can ever imagine. The woman in the First Reading offered Elisha a room as he passes by their town. She and her husband were childless and in the culture of that time, this is shameful because the belief was the reason why they could not have a child is God has cursed them. But due to her generosity, Elisha prophesied that she will have a child the next year. And this prophesy was fulfilled.
This is what happens to us when we live in the life of Christ. Our previous life of shame and curse becomes a life of honor and blessing. Many do not realize that God wants to bless them, that God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavens already and we just need to take them. Whatever we need to fulfill the plan of God for us, has been given to us. All we need is to ask him for it, by turning back to him, letting him do to us as he wants. Jesus tells us how this is done: Take up our cross and follow him. This taking up the cross is a constant dying to myself so I can follow Jesus.
The Gospel Acclamation tells us: You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Praise God who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. God does not want us to live in darkness. He has set us apart to be kings and priests, to serve him.
Are you tired of living in darkness, fear, despair? God has called you out of that life. He calls you, separates you from this life so you can come to his marvelous light. Come to Jesus, ask him into your life. Tell him you want this life he has planned for you.
Lord Jesus, I know God did not plan a life of darkness, fear and despair for me. I come to you, to get out of that life. I want to enter your life of light, courage and hope. Take me Lord and do with me as you will. Reveal yourself to me, so I can know your Father in heaven.