Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today we hear Jesus give us another one of his famous riddles: “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” While there is a literal truth to the souls of martyrs being lifted to eternal life in heaven, I think Jesus wants us to dig even deeper and ask ourselves – “How does this apply to me?” Well thanks to the woman in our first reading, we can begin to see how the Gospel actually applies to our lives.
Imagine getting back from your summer vacation at the beach. You are exhausted from the long drive and the days of sitting in the sun. You feel dirty from all the salt buildup in your hair and your peeling skin. You’re starving for a fresh home cooked meal, but you have no groceries. Not to mention you have to unpack and do laundry. As your to do list lengthens, you remember all of the tasks that need to be done when you get back to work on Monday. Somehow you feel even more exhausted than before. Suddenly you get a text. Your best friend is unexpectedly in town and needs a place to stay for the night, so what do you say?
In the spirit of the first reading, your answer should be yes. It’s not a yes stemming from guilt, pity, obligation, or fear, but a yes for love of God. Not a yes that leads to resentment or pride, but a yes that builds upon grace. This woman in the first reading invites Elisha into her home simply because he reflects the image of God, the God whom she loves and lives for. In the laying down of her life – her space, resources, and time – she literally finds new life in the gift of a pregnancy, but she also finds a richer life that God has planned for her. A life full of generosity, friendship, and love (even her servant is excited for something to be done for her!)
So, think about the plan you have for your life… the dream job, the big house, the nice car… just think about the plan you have for the day… and recognize that if you cling to this life and your plans, you will never find the abundant life that God has planned for you. Let your life get lost in the pursuit of God. Let your heart be freed by the spirit of surrender. And let your friend stay the night, your to do list can wait.