Jesus said to his disciples,
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.
— Matthew 16:24-28
The peace of the Lord be with you. Some years ago now I was listening to a Sunday morning radio show called On Being on public radio. The guest that particular week was a chief Rabbi. In the conversation that day, the Rabbi talked about the story of Noah and the ark. He indicated that the story of the ark is a metaphor for God and how God takes care of creation. This rabbi pointed out that Noah never sleeps and he knows precisely what each animal needs and make sure that the needs of that animals are taken care of. God never takes a break from taking care of what God has created.
I think this is precisely what Jesus is trying to tell us today. He’s trying to remind us that to be the most God-like is to always put the needs of someone or something ahead of our own. That does not mean that we shouldn’t take care of ourselves, but it does mean that we should always have our eyes opened to those who perhaps are lonely, hungry, isolated, or who don’t really have a voice. When we become the individuals who attend to the needs of those who find themselves in these places we are a reflection of both God the Father and God the Son. We are our brothers keeper; we are guardian of the planet and created things.
Loving Lord help me to keep my priorities straight today, to remind me that I’m meant to use my time, talent, and treasure to help serve and meet the needs of others. Help me to reflect your likeness and presence in my place and time. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.