A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Paul Machuca for August 10th, 2023

The Gospel according to Matthew (11:28-30)

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

”Reflection: Are we a Christian when we say and do Christian things?  We may be Catholic because we say we are or because we go to mass, pray the rosary, or identify with any of a number of symbols or rituals that are uniquely Catholic.  Maybe it’s the cross, crucifix or scapular around our necks.  If I volunteer for ministry in my church or help at the local shelter for the homeless, I will be identified as a Christian.  All these things are signs of someone who professes to be a Christian but are they enough?  

Well, according to today’s gospel, no.  One must be willing to give up the most precious thing we have, our very lives.  After years of ministering to the lame, sick, lost and showing them the path to salvation Jesus was preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loved.  He knew that the end would involve suffering that is difficult to imagine.  He realized his death was part of God’s plan to restore and redeem us.  And he did so with the greatest love of all.  Are we, along with all the things we do and say, willing to die like the grain of wheat so we too can produce much fruit.  If not in the literal sense, then in the countless ways we can die to that part of us that holds us back for sharing in that greatest love.   

Think about how, in our daily routines and attempts to follow Jesus, we can welcome the virtue of humility as we put others ahead of us.  In doing so we die to ourselves whenever we pause and suffer just a little bit as we swallow our pride so others can occupy that space where miracles can happen.  Here is where the greatest love of all can sprout from a mustard seed to a tall and lush haven for many to dwell in.  

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Lawrence who died a martyr.  He, like Jesus suffered and died because he had the greatest love for God and his brothers and sisters.  His life of prayer, service and loyalty culminated into the most profound sign of faith.  What are we willing to die for in order to share in that greatest love of all?  

Action of the day: Throughout the day be mindful of the opportunities to die to yourself for the sake of another.  It might be biting your tongue and holding back an unnecessary of hurtful comment.  It may be allowing someone the spotllight or to take the credit for something we initiated.  Or, maybe, it is making the sacrifice that no one will notice to make someone’s day a little brighter.  All these and more are ways we can express to God the greatest love that exists in our hearts.        

Audio Reflection:

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