Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't look back

That's the message of today's Gospel as we get toward the end of the liturgical year. It's a kind of scary Gospel (as in, "this is good news?"), but it reflects other parts of the Gospel: for example, when Jesus told his would-be followers to "let the dead bury their dead" and that "the one who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is unfit for the Kingdom of God." "Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it" is a paradox that all four Gospel accounts (even John!) repeat.
This morning, all of this came together for me in the person of (who else?) Paul. On the road to Damascus, when "the Son of Man was revealed" to him (or "in" him, as he wrote to the Galatians), all "the things I once considered gain, I have reappraised as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord, Jesus Christ." "I give no thought to my own life, but I am racing to grasp the prize if possible, since I have been grasped by Christ Jesus."

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