“It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.” ~Cesar Chavez
In the gospel for today, Jesus told His followers that “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As Jesus called us “friend”, He was willing to do exactly what He said: He laid down His life for us.
That is what we celebrate, especially throughout the Easter season. However, even as we celebrate, we are reminded that Jesus asked us to “go and do the same.” It is much easier to celebrate the fact that Jesus died for us than to think that we might be called to sacrifice for another.
Yet that is what people do all the time. There are fearless people who lay their lives on the line regularly for the sake of others: those in the military, those in emergency services (police, fire, EMT, et cetera), those in war-torn parts of the world serving the poor and needy, and the like.
Each and every day, when they go out to do their job, they know that they may not come back. They do not let fear keep them from going. They keep their eyes fixed on those whom they serve. Their service is enough for them.
They do not expect any reward, either. That is another hallmark of someone who truly understands what the Lord said about being willing to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.
Jesus did not die so that His Father would give Him a gold star. He died in order to save us, to set us free from sin and death. Those in high-risk service professions often give up their lives without any thought of recognition as well. Their goal is to keep us safe.
What are we willing to risk in order to be of service to our brothers and sisters in Christ?
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who regularly risk their lives for our sake and pray, as well, for the grace and courage to do the same if the Lord calls you to do so.