[Then He (Jesus) said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.] (Lk. 9:23-24)
Listening to Jesus’ words we might be tempted to ask, “Is it opposite day?” If I try to save me life, I’ll lose it? If I try to lose my life, I’ll save it? The key to these puzzling words is the One who says them, “for My sake”.
During Lent it’s interesting to note that our fasting, our prayer, and our almsgiving can sometimes seem really difficult than at other moments. I speak specifically of fasting from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. For whatever reason (at least I’ve experienced it) it is much more difficult to avoid meat on these days even though I might avoid it other days outside of Lent. When I “have to” fast from meat on these days, it seems really difficult despite the fact that when I “don’t have to” the same fast is easy to accomplish.
In the Season of Lent we fast for Jesus’ sake and not our own. Lent is not primarily about us, but Him. Our focus during Lent should be on Him and not ourselves. So the increased “difficulty” of fasting from meat now becomes an act of love for Jesus, a taking up our cross and following Him to Calvary. By our fast we make our feeble attempt to love Jesus as He loved us on the cross—to lose our life so as to save it.
Tomorrow (Friday) when you feel that insurmountable desire to eat meat (that’s the feeling I get anyway) use that as an opportunity to love Jesus. Offer that feeling up as an act of love for our Lord Who lost His life to save it and each one of us. It’s not opposite day at all. It’s the day of our salvation.