Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
For more than fifty of his more than eighty years, Nurney Mason was a barber in the United States House of Representatives. Nurney Mason cut hair out of a tiny booth in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building — his little stall saw nearly as much history as the floor of the Capitol itself. And every day, he brought to his job not only his barbering skills, but kindness, optimism and encouragement He would greet everyone — whether powerful Congressman or lowest-level staffer — with a solid handshake and a knowing smile. Mason stayed upbeat, day after day, the vibrations of his clippers surely jarring his wrists over the half century he worked.
He was asked by one of his Congressional customers how he stayed so upbeat and happy all the time.
Nurney Mason replied simply, “I just make (joy) right here. I create joy where I stand.“
Jesus’ words of instruction in today’s Gospel may seem severe. The teaching contained in these Gospel verses from St. Matthew is summed up in these two succinct sentences; following Jesus Christ, doing what He asks, means risking this present life in order to gain eternal life! (repeat)
People who are constantly concerned primarily with themselves, who act above all for their own satisfaction, endanger their eternal salvation and cannot avoid being unhappy even in this life. Only if a person forgets themselves and gives themselves to God and to others, in marriage as well as in any other aspect of life, can be happy on this earth, with a happiness that is a preparation for, and a foretaste of, the joy of heaven. Clearly, Christian life is based on self-denial: there is no Christianity without the Cross. There can be no Easter Resurrection without the Good Friday crucifixion! And to encourage the Apostles and us and to persuade others to receive them and us, Our Lord affirms that there is an intimate solidarity, or even a kind of identity, between Himself and His disciples.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus invites all of us into an intimate relationship with Him. And we must make this a top priority! Our lives change over the years — the challenge is to continue to grow in God’s love and mercy and be there for one another as we change. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, we find our true lives in the worldly lives we “lose,” and consequently, we discover our true selves that God intends us to be in the spiritual persons we become over time.
In God’s wisdom and grace, we can transform such change from a “cross” into an experience of joy in which we discover the joy of God in our ordinary daily lives which becomes the means for inspiring others to die to themselves in order to grow closer to Christ and see this life as the passing reality for what it really is.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Cycle A
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
2 Kings 4:8-11 Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 Matthew 10:37-42