Jesus said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’ (Mark 8:34-37) The way of the cross, the Jesus way, is one of selflessness – of putting God’s will before our own and of losing our life in order to gain it.
When we look at the cross, we see apparent defeat and humiliation. It looked like the devil won; it looked like evil triumphed. But Jesus gave His life willingly for us so that we could be reconciled to God. We must therefore recognise that the apparently foolish path of selflessness is one which leads to life. We simply can’t reach God and live a fulfilled life by doing things the way the world does. We have to choose an alternative route.
All of us have currently had an ‘alternative route’ (the route of self-isolation) thrust upon us this week. We may well be chafing at the lack of freedom, at the lack of routines, at the difficulties of separation. But we can still embrace selflessness and choose to serve others: either by the sacrifice of work if you’re a key worker or by restricting our normal lifestyles to help others. Selflessness continues long after lockdown!