This week’s readings ask us to face reality.
We can’t save our life.
can only spend it.
Use it up.
We can’t hoard it in a pile somewhere or put
it in a bank,
then pull it out to use it later.
gospel has Jesus presenting us with that very paradox,
first in a metaphor
about a grain of wheat
and then more straightforwardly:
if we try to save
our life, we lose it.
If we give our life away, we save
The scholars of the Jesus
Seminar tell us
that the grain of wheat imagery
has deep roots in our
they observe that the idea of losing your life if you
and saving it if you hate it
was most probably part of the oral
tradition about Jesus
and that the evangelist later added the context
Christianize it for his community.
The scholars paraphrase what Jesus meant
I’m a human being, just like all humans,
a child of Adam and
If I love my life, I lose it because it is only for me.
But if I give
up my life, I will save it
because I will have used it to serve God and
That fits exactly with what we know Jesus said
about the greatest
commandment when he recited the Shema:
Hear, O Israel, God is One.
shall love God
with your whole heart, and your whole soul.
And, he said,
the second commandment is like it:
Love your neighbor as
We know that Jesus
Over and over the evangelists weave their stories around that
He goes off to pray alone.
Praying on the mountain.
disciples not to “multiply words like the pagans do”
and teaching them how to
And after Jesus prayed, he acted.
He didn’t sit around and try to
save his life;
he spent it living out the inspiration of his prayer.
gave his life away doing
I was down at Claver
House Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day,
and Mark was commenting
three months of 2015 are gone
and he hadn’t done a thing.
I just shook my
head and said, “Yeah.”
Commiserated with him.
He felt that way, for
But I know that he tends his grandkids
after his daughter leaves for
and makes sure they have breakfast and get to school.
And I know he
has shoveled the walk
for an even more elderly neighbor all winter
that he’ll be mowing her lawn all summer.
And he’ll be there when the
grandkids get home,
greeting them at the door and asking about their
He keeps an eye out on the neighborhood.
He’s my age, retired on a
fixed and limited income,
but he’s the go-to guy who fixes people’s cars for
and fiddles with their toasters and table lamps
to get them going
He doesn’t take money for it—
tells them to pass along a good deed
when they can.
Mark is spending his life for his family and his
using it up for them.
He gives his life away, and as a result
he saves it.
Kelly was there
Her home situation isn’t particularly happy.
She gets a
small disability check once a month
and manages to live on it.
she stopped through Claver House for breakfast
on her way to volunteer at her
church’s daycare center.
She had baked a green cake
and bought some green
candy at the Dollar Store
so she could treat the kids after she read to
She could save her time and energy and money,
She gives it away, and as a result she saves
That first reading from
Jeremiah tells us
why Mark and Kelly do that,
and why each of you do
It’s the new covenant,
written on their hearts…
written on the
hearts of all of God’s people…
written on your hearts
experiences and reflection and prayer
Dorothy Day once
“Don’t make me a saint;
don’t put me on a shelf.”
If we pray and
then go about trying to get ahead,
trying to save our time and energy for
we put ourselves on a shelf.
It’s like the eggs my hens
If I try to save them, I lose them.
They get old and
Nothing stinks like a rotten egg.
But if I don’t save them,
I use them up or give them away,
they produce good
So each of us has to
give up our lives by doing good for others
and loving and
serving our neighbors…
or sit like chickens on a bunch of rotten
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle,