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The good news for the day March 2, 2017

Thursday after Ash Wednesday (220)

Jesus addresses His followers: “Human Beings connected to me have to suffer much—will be rejected by political leaders, religious hierarchy, and educated academics—will be killed but then on the third day be raised.” Then He addresses everybody: “If people want to follow me, they have to deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me. People who want to save their lives will lose it; anyone losing their life for my sake will save it. What profit is it for someone to gain the whole world, but lose their core, their very self?”
We need to keep reminding ourselves that human existence is a “Whole-Life” way of life. You cannot separate work from home, pleasure from duty, practical and civic/political events from your religious principles. They are entangled. Civic duty involves morality; politics can oppress moral stances; educated friends can affect your conscience. Jesus offended each.

In following Jesus, you and I meet hostility and persecutions—subtler than the beheadings and murders of Christians overseas, more challenging than overt, official confrontations, and yet much more dangerous than you realize. Jesus tells you to expect antagonism –hostility that wants to “end” you—kill your spirit if not your body—get rid of you somehow. You hold on to the belief you will “be raised” again by the Power of our Father.

As to the rest—many are called—the public—to choose self-sacrifice, conscience, and service—in ways Jesus that exemplified. Everyone—Jesus says—needs the maturity to face and accept death, which is the great leveler—to accept that money is not the goal of life, that security is never absolute, and that you can lose what is important if you lose track of what IS truly important. You may die, as many a famous, rich person does—alone and poor—at the end. What good did their accumulation of money do? The Good News is your freedom of that.

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