“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Apart from the air we breathe, nothing comes to us free of charge. Whatever we want to achieve in this life or in the life to come, there is a definite price we have to pay for it.
I recall the days of my childhood when I was still learning how to read and write. I hated having to wake up early to take my bath and prepare for school. I admired other children who were not going to school, I wished I could ‘enjoy’ like them. Back then, schooling was the definition of suffering for me but now, I realize it was my biggest investment.
Today, Jesus uses the term “profit” consciously to drive home a point – that even our very life on earth can be understood from the perspective of buying and selling. Just as it would be foolish to buy an item, transport it only to sell it for less, we are most to be pitied if we cannot make a profit of our time on earth. We are most to be pitied if we do not invest wisely our short time on earth.
Over 25 years ago in this country, two men made the same amount of money in their business. One built the most exotic mansion ever seen in this country, the other started a bank. Today, the mansion has been overtaken by weeds and reptiles of all sorts are its only residents but the bank continues to serve millions racking in annual profits hundred times more than its initial capital.
As Jesus puts it, we are most to be pitied if we fail to profit eternity with God. We would be very foolish if we spend our short time on earth running after vainglory, material riches and so on but do not attain eternal life.
Like any business, there is a price we must pay first – deny ourselves, carry our cross daily and follow the footsteps of Jesus. This means depriving ourselves of bodily pleasure so as to faithfully observe the commandments of God avoiding sin at all costs.
Investing in eternal life requires a great deal of discipline. It entails saying to ourselves the words of Nahum in our first reading today. It demands a daily examination of conscience to identify our sins and actually repent of them.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my wisdom that my time on earth would turn out eventually to be a very profitable investment. Amen.
Bible Study: Nahum 2:1-3, Deut. 32 and Matthew 16:24-28).