Moses sets before the people a decision – life or death, blessing or curse, and urges them: “Choose life that you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30: 19)
But Jesus tells us to take up our cross, to deny ourselves, to lose our lives. (Luke 9: 23-24) And he showed this by his life.
But there is no contradiction here.
When we try to hold on to life, to things, we may be like dead persons – rigid, grasping, unable to let go. But when we risk ourselves, when we give our lives away for others, we are truly alive.
Life does not just consist in living and breathing. Life is an adventure in loving. And when we love we find life – not necessarily an easy life, but a life with a profound joy.
Yesterday when I took Communion to an elderly sick man in Quebraditas, whose left foot had been partially amputated, I asked him if he wanted Communion? I could hardly hear his mumbled “yes,” but I saw a smile on his face.
Our Lord Jesus was coming to him, sharing in his suffering.
Will we able to smile when we face our crosses and the adversities of life?
I believe that when we take up the cross, when we are in solidarity with all who suffer, then we can find real joy. At least that has been my experience.