Let us begin with a question…are we truly thirsting for the Lord? It’s a question only we can ponder for ourselves. Our Lord in today’s Gospel reminds us that whoever wishes to come after Him “must deny himself.” Take note that this is some really strong words coming directly from the Lord. What does it mean today for one to deny oneself?
Many of us probably can already come up with an answer. To deny one selves means to give up what we desire and want for the sake of another. Is that right? Absolutely! But the question is it easy? While it’s an easy concept to grasp, it’s not an easy one to follow! Why is it becoming increasingly more difficult to deny oneself? Perhaps it has something to do with fear! Letting go of oneself often entails perhaps some things that we ourselves are uncomfortable with doing. For example God has asked some people to give up everything worldly and live their lives day to day. Some individuals give up high paying jobs to do things that will make a difference in the world. If God asked some individuals to do that, they would be hesitant. Why??? Because they would be concerned about how they are going to put food on their tables and pay the countless bills. When it comes to some of these things there is a natural fear that can overtake us.
Another reason it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny oneself in today’s world is because the mindset of many individuals has changed. At one time in our history we could accept things in faith. Today if we asked some individuals to accept things in faith they would be like…yeah right I can’t accept anything on faith! More and more people want something that is concrete. In essence we want to be able a plan and we want to see results. When the Lord asks something of us many times it is as if He is saying “jump!” Jump where…jump into the unknown! Often times when the Lord asks us to do something many times He is asking us to leave our comfort zones. It’s utterly amazing every time I attempt to do my own thing; it often doesn’t go the way that I plan. However, the opposite happens when I let it all go and place everything to His hands. Everything goes much better.
Dying to self means letting go! It means letting go of this self centered attitude that has consumed so many of us in recent times. Begin by placing everything, not just some things, but everything into God’s hands. Going back to my homily from last week we talked about staying close and following Jesus who is our rock. We follow Him by listening and following everything that He has taught us. In today’s world everyone has an opinion, but in the Catholic Church there is only one person’s opinion that matters and that is of course our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now we must ask ourselves are we thirsting for the Lord or are we thirsting for the things of the world. The things of this world will dissipate but the love of God doesn’t. God’s love is everlasting. As we leave here today let us pray for the grace to deny ourselves and to go after the Lord. In doing so perhaps we won’t be building up worldly but instead building up treasure where it truly belongs in the heavenly kingdom!