A Matter of Choice

Luke 9: 22-25
Deut 30: 15-20 / Ps 1: 1-4, 6

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?
(Luke 9: 25)

Have no fear for problems or pain,
Just hope for the blessings life will bring.
Behind the trials, there’s a gain,
God has a purpose for everything.

Jesus said (to His disciples), “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit himself? (Luke 9:22-25)

Reflection

Life is a matter of choice. We can choose the comfortable, leisurely and fashionable mode of life, or we can decide to use our talents and abilities to make this world a better place to live in for the sake of others who are suffering from poverty, injustice, or hunger for the Word of God. For those among us who are blessed with material comforts and financial stability, “denying oneself and taking up his cross daily and following Jesus” may be the kind of lifestyle that is far from what we have become accustomed to. Some might even say, ‘What if I have no cross to carry?’ Then perhaps they might seriously consider helping others carry their own crosses in life.

Our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for our redemption. To reciprocate His love, the least we can do is submit to His discipleship, take up our crosses daily, and serve humbly as His servants. This was how Gov. Nemitz’s life was formed by his Savior. Orphaned of his mother at seven, this eldest son of a bus driver had to take care of his siblings while looking for means like selling root crops to augment their father’s meager income. As a working student in Manila, he earned his lodgings by serving as houseboy and driver to relatives, and for two years walked miles to school due to the lack of fare money. Rising out of poverty, he became a successful lawyer, and he showed his gratitude to the Lord by serving his community in civic and religious organizations and as a public servant. He could have had a lucrative law practice in the big city (Manila), but he chose to serve his poor constituents in a rural province in Bukidnon. Coming from destitution, he and his teacher wife chose to serve the destitutes. Bro. Nemitz believed that by denying himself, he chose the things of God, not the things of man.

This season of Lent is a time to reflect on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Where do we stand in terms of our commitment to Him? Do we still belong to the vast numbers who profess to be Christians, and yet never try to practice sacrifice by almsgiving, fasting, submission to the Father’s will, and obedience to the decrees of His Church? All of these practices are fruits of self-denial, which is the answer to the apathy and worldliness afflicting many Christians today.

The wicked are like chaff that the wind blows away. They will never stand in the day of judgment, or in the assembly of the righteous. But You, O Lord watch over the way of the just. (Psa 1:4-6) Lead me from the way of the wicked, as it only leads to destruction. Amen.

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