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Good News for the Day, February 15, 2018
Thursday after Ash Wednesday (220)

To people he has inspired, Jesus says, “This Human Child has to suffer terribly and be rejected by people in power (“elders”), religious leaders and learned people, and be killed and then on the third day be raised.” To the public, then, Jesus says: “If anyone wishes to come after me—those people have to deny themselves and take up their cross every day and follow me. For everybody who want to save their lives will lose it, but whoever loses their own life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for somebody to gain the whole world but lose or forfeit himself?” (Luke 9)

Having told us that the starting point for the follower of Jesus is authenticity, the church offers next a Gospel warning that speaks of the consequence of authenticity—rejection, pain—even death. At some point, your faith acquires a special kind of internal courage—the guts—to be Jesus in your world.

For many reasons, some people will oppose you in this alternate way of life—your different (i.e., sacred) “life.” It may be their envy, it may be just irrational dislike, it may be a “this-generation” view hostile to persons who do not conform to the “way it has always been done.”. It may be opposition from an ideology of theirs that is set, or it may be some far-fetched rationalization arising from a mistaken principle.

In these cases, it is your “inside” life, your inner peace, your acceptance, your calm humility and your brave caring that recognizes such opposition. You recognize that the “powers-that-be” do not like any follower of Jesus. You are no victim, not a mere passive sufferer—no, you are in fact the risen, wounded Lord whose inner life of the Spirit counts more than any wounds the world inflicts. You are alive and they are not yet.

Once you clarify that your character—your permanent self—is made of faith and hope in others, and manifests itself in caring love for others, you become fearless in a profound and modest way; You enjoy a Life that’s beyond living, a Permanence beyond Death, a peace that surpasses all understanding.  You have a life you will never lose, even if you die. You may not “gain the world,” but you Live a rich Life.

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