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March 29, 2009

Dying that Others May Live
                                    

    This week’s Gospel is one that is hard to take.  It speaks of death and dying.  We don’t often want to talk about this topic.  The Gospel isn’t speaking about our physical death however.  The death Jesus is talking about is a spiritual death.  During Lent we are on a spiritual journey and we are traveling from one of death toward one of New Life which we will celebrate at Easter.

    Jesus tells us that a grain of wheat is useless unless it dies.  When it dies it brings new life to the world.  He tells us that when he dies he will bring new life to our world.  He is urging us to die too, so that there will be new life wherever we happen to be.

    How do we die and yet live our lives every day?  During Lent we practice dying to ourselves by fasting, by doing what we can to assist others through almsgiving, by praying.  This dying to self – self-denial – can help us to give life to others.

    When parents decide not to buy a new car in order to help their children get a better education, they die to themselves.  Their children have a better life because of the sacrifice that Mom and Dad have made for them.  When an adult puts aside an easy career move in order to care for an elderly parent, they are dying to themselves so that their parents will feel the security that results from caring.  When someone untiringly supports a close friend struggling with an addiction – they are dying to themselves in order to help give a life of freedom to someone else.

    When we decide to fast as part of Operation Rice Bowl, cook and eat a simple meal, and donate the money saved to be sure that children in a third world country can have access to better educational opportunities, we die to ourselves and new life flourishes in people overseas. 
   (Rev. N. Kookoothe)

    There are many ways for the grain of wheat to die and bring new life to our world.  Dying to ourselves isn’t the fun part of life.  It never is.  Even when we are dying to ourselves for someone we love dearly, it is difficult.  This is what it means to pick up our cross and carry it each day.  Dying entails sacrifice.  Many times it means pain and suffering of some type.  It is almost impossible to this without having love for God and for others. 

    As Christians we are encouraged to love in this difficult way.  Love, true love, is not always easy.  Parents understand this very well.  Spouses understand it also.  Love is not only about romance.   Love means giving of yourself day after day after day.  There is no room for selfishness in Love. 

    As we look toward the next two weeks that are left in this Lenten season, let us try to practice this virtue of love with greater intensity and sincerity.  Happy journey!

                                Lorette P. Nault