The World and My Soul

Matthew 16: 24-28
Dt.4:32-40 / Psa 77

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his life?
(Matthew 16:26)

When the final race in life is run,
What will matter most at the goal?
What profit could there be for one
Who gains the world but loses his soul?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:24-28)

Reflection

Like the popular adage, “as far as the east is from the west,” or the proverbial distinction “like oil and water,” a life of worldly pleasure — one lived in the pursuit of wealth, fame, or material comforts — can never be compatible with the aspiration for eternal happiness. Nor can there be a comparison. Our life on earth can be quantified, and undeniably finite, however pleasurable it may be; but the Life Eternal is as endless as the reaches of the universe. The worth of the whole world is nothing compared to the value of one’s soul, simply because the world is temporal while the soul is infinite. Losing it therefore for the wealth, fame and pleasures of this world would be life’s ultimate folly.

Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters” (Mt.6:24). It is virtually impossible to enjoy the pleasures of the world and follow Jesus at the same time. Taking up our cross and following Him means separating ourselves from this world or detaching ourselves from it. As St. Paul advised, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12.2) How do we renew our mind? It is no mere coincidence that we joined a renewal community in order to transform our way of thinking and behavior towards God and neighbor. In the company of a praying community, we have learned to appreciate the Word of God, which has drawn us closer to Him and farther from the world.

How can I not come to love and serve Jesus, as my Model and Master, knowing that He sacrificed His own life for the salvation of my soul, which is my most precious possession? Meditating on His Word daily has made me realize the whole truth about the value of my soul vis-à-vis the wealth and pleasures of this world. I am moved by the prayer of Jesus to the Father: “They do not belong to the world, any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in the truth.” (John 17.16-19) His Word and His Flesh continue to consecrate me every day, and I shall never tire of receiving both until the end of my life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your love and for Your cross that have saved me from the snares of the world’s false treasures. Thank You, Father God, for Your Holy Spirit, and for Your Word, which has led me to the path of eternal salvation. Amen.

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