One of the most basic requirements for anyone committed to a Gospel life is to lose one's life for the sake of God and God's reign. It is also one of the most difficult challenges we face and something that requires effort our entire lives. Losing one's life means focusing not on personal success, power or influence over others, but on living the Gospel faithfully and fully no matter the personal cost.
We hear Jesus' demand to let go in the sacrament of Baptism. When a child or adult is plunged into the waters of Baptism, it is clear that while the waters cleanse and renew the person being baptized, the church also wants us to realize that Baptism is about death. St Paul says it this way,
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Rom 6: 3-4)The ritual of Baptism is designed to guide us throughout life. Plunged only once into the waters of Baptism, we renew our baptismal commitment every time we die to sin, selfishness and self absorption. More, our witness to Christ by living an other centered life invites others to know the power invested in us through the sacrament. Those who know Christ and his promise to prepare a place for us in heaven have the freedom and courage not to grasp for every passing pleasure or cling to every kind word, but to sing with joy about the God who can never stop loving us.
Today, do something simple and lovely for someone you don't like.
What gives you the strength to die to sin and selfishness on a daily basis?