My grandson Jack has problems letting anyone cut his hair or touch his mouth, so when he fell and knocked out his one permanent upper front tooth, the trauma was worse than usual. The only way for the dentist to be able to re-implant the tooth was for his mom, Heather, to comfort Jack with the pressure of her body so the dentist could safely work in Jack’s mouth.
Heather, having as a child had many difficult experiences with her own knocked-out front tooth, had to cope with Jack’s profuse bleeding, his intense anxiety, and her own memories. She hesitated briefly. Then she pulled herself together and gave herself up for her son.
The world teaches—be first, climb the corporate ladder, be perfect (that is, better than other people), get more money. Jesus teaches–life is found not in trying to save your life but rather in giving it away for his sake. This message is given twice in Matthew, once in Mark, and twice in Luke—a solid witness. When we give ourselves for others, work together for the common good, let the ego die, we do not become lost. Instead we find joy, meaning and purpose, and more ability to live through the hard times.
The care of a parent for a child is a place that such self-giving love is required over and over. To love that way is not about doing good in order to get rewards from Jesus. It is a school for learning how to love our neighbor as ourselves.
What stories do you have about self-giving love?
We can lose our lives for the sake of lots of things. What is different about losing one’s life “for Jesus’ sake”?
Think of a troubled situation or person you are concerned about. Hold that concern in your heart. Hold it in the Light. Pray about it.
For further reflection:
“They who find their lives will lose them . . .” (See Matthew 10:39 and 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24 and 17:32).
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself . . .” (See Matthew 22: 34-40; Mark 12: 28-34; Luke 10: 25-28).