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Friday, February 20, 2009

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Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 33
Mark 8:34—9:1

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"Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will preserve it." —Mark 8:35

Jesus commands us to lose our lives for His sake and the gospel's. Losing our lives includes:

  1. denying our very selves,
  2. taking up Jesus' cross,
  3. following in Jesus' steps, and
  4. not being ashamed of Jesus and His teachings (Mk 8:34, 38).

Doing these things results in losing our lives because these things seem absurd (see 1 Cor 1:18) and even threatening to "this faithless and corrupt age" (Mk 8:38). Because we don't belong to the world, it hates us and makes sure that we are losers by worldly standards (Jn 15:19).

Therefore, if we live a godly life, we should expect to be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12) and deprived of "worldly" opportunities. However, we're losing nothing of lasting value, for "the world with its seductions is passing away" (1 Jn 2:17).

So we laugh at the world's pleasures, positions, and power. If we gain it all, we would gain nothing and destroy ourselves in the process (Mk 8:36). We Christians may look like losers now, but the worst losers are those who lose their immortal souls forever. Win now and lose everything later. Lose now and rejoice forever in heaven.

Prayer:  Jesus, make me happy to be insulted, persecuted, and slandered for Your sake, for my reward will be great in heaven (Mt 5:11-12).

Promise:  "The plan of the Lord stands forever; the design of His heart, through all generations." —Ps 33:11

Praise:  Susan could have been a star in Hollywood but chose "the better portion" (see Lk 10:42), that is, to serve God quietly in a convent.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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