Losing your life for Christ

This verse appears in all four Gospels, which underlies its importance:

  1. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
  2. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:35)
  3. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. (Luke 17:33)
  4. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. (John 12:25)

How to properly interpret it? First of all, there are two parts in this verse. The first part talks about whoever finds his life, or wishes to save his life, or seeks to preserve his life, or loves his life will lose it. Here, the word life is translated from the Greek word psychē which refers to a person’s natural life; i.e., a person’s life on earth, as opposed to life hereafter. Some people may ask: Is it wrong to find, save, seek or love your life here on earth? Don’t we have a right to preserve and love our own life?

The second part of the verse reveals the bigger picture, for it talks about the life hereafter; i.e., whoever loses his life in this world for the sake of Jesus Christ will gain eternal life.

Looking at the context of this Gospel passage, we see that Jesus was talking to His apostles. In addition, Jesus also told them beforehand that “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37-38)

An apostle of Christ must love Christ above his own father, mother, son or daughter; he must take up his own cross and follow after Christ who carried His Cross and was crucified on it; he must give up his life for the sake of Christ, in order to preserve it for eternal life. Those who were called to be apostles of Christ, except one, lived up to this calling: Peter, James, John, Andrew, James, Thomas, Philip, Matthew, Bartholomew, Simon and Jude; Matthias who replaced Judas, as well as Paul, Barnabas, Timothy and Titus.

Does this Gospel passage apply to ordinary people like us? Certainly, it does. This scripture passage tells us that we ought to lose the kind of life that craves things and seeks glory for oneself; this kind of life leaves a person trapped in his own little world. Instead, we should strive for the Christian life that seeks to love and serve God and others; this kind of life gives a person great freedom to live an abundant life of grace in the present, and everlasting life in the future.

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia (CFNGA) has awarded $1,000 to our church for the purpose of funding a new community outreach program. This program will assist people who need translation assistance in completing application forms for driver licenses, US citizenship, court cases, etc. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot begin this program at the present time; however, we can start planning for it now by signing up a pool of volunteers. We are looking for parishioners who can volunteer for this outreach program on Saturdays from 12 pm to 3 pm. You do not have to be present every Saturday. If you are interested to help in this new outreach program, please let Fr. Bill know.

At the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission, we do our best to keep you safe when you come to church by spraying the sanctuary and chapel after every Mass with disinfectant, and any room that have been used. We thank you for your continued support and cooperation by wearing masks to church and maintaining social distancing. Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes are always available for your use.