Reflection for August 10th 2019 on JN 12:24-26
To believe in Christ is to believe in an extremely challenging idea. I’m not talking about the paradox of God being Man – no, what hardest thing to buy into day-to-day is the real ethos of Jesus’ entire ministry: that at the core of deep and true fulfilment is generosity.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is once again sharing this lesson – that it’s the dying grain that bears fruit, that losing ourselves is how we find it, that emptying ourselves is in fact what most authentically fills us up. This is the great truth of the Christian calling. It’s also its great challenge, since every fiber of our being seems to screams the opposite. In my head I’m constantly weighing decisions by “What’s in it for me? What do I get out of it?” What I most fiercely protect is my ego; what upsets me the most are affronts to my pride; what my stresses and worries all come down to is the fear and discomfort of losing control.
When we fall into the spiral of insularity, our world – our lives – get small. The borders of selfishness close us in tighter and tighter, making us fragile and trapped. That’s why as Christians we believe the Good News of Christ is so liberating! It frees us from the captivity of our ever-encroaching egocentricity. Our generosity is the antidote to the poison of self-centeredness. To live generously is to live complete.
To quote the late Dr. Greene for my E.R. fans out there: “Be generous. With your time. With your love. With your life.” This is what we’re called to do.
But being generous is just really, really hard. Every day it’s a challenge to live with that mindset, which is why I think Jesus talks about it so often. This week let’s try and focus on this generosity. I think a good place to start would be to name what we love. What brings us hope? What fills us up? What enlivens our spirit? What ever that may be – this week let’s try to be intentional about sharing that.
You love a book? Try and lend it to someone who might be inspired by it. You love certain food? Make sure somebody around you eats that great meal. You love spending time with a friend or relative? Make sure they know and believe it that it’s genuinely good they exist.
Remember that “where I am, there also will my servant be.” and let’s meet God there this week. Let’s live with a bold and courageous generosity, let’s embody the hope we look to in Christ, and let’s live like we genuinely believe in God’s liberating power.