He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
As a parent, this passage reminds me of how my life changed wonderfully and profoundly when I became a momma. I thought I knew what love was – After all, only a couple of years before, I had pledged my love and my entire life to my husband in marriage. When I had a child, I learned a very important dimension to true love – and that is the self gift. A good parent says, “No” to selfishness, and puts the needs of his/her child before his own. We work, we sacrifice for the sake of our children. Are we willing to do work and to sacrifice for Christ – or do we put limits on our love?
St. Paul reminds us today that Jesus died for all. It is His will that ALL be saved because of His great sacrifice on the cross. True love is not manipulative or controlling, however. With true love, there must always be free will. God loves us enough to allow us to choose to live our lives for the sake of the one who died for us, or to refuse His gift. How do we as Christians live our lives – not for ourselves – but for the sake of the one who came to save us from sin and death?
When we look at the world around us, we are bombarded with messages of “Look out for #1, Whatever makes you feel good; Put yourself first – no one else will; You must have a perfect, youthful body and a fancy car, etc.” As followers of Christ, we should be living counter-culturally! If we were to be on the outside looking in at our families, what would we see? Are we truly offering all that we have and all that we are to God to be used however He sees fit to further His kingdom?
In the gospel, Jesus is asleep in the boat when a violent storm crops up. The apostles panic and ask Him, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” I think that this is hilarious! It is so human. Only a chapter or two before, Jesus had healed a paralytic, a leper and a man with a withered hand. Had they forgotten about these miracles and the power of Jesus already? Had they not just witnessed these things?
As human beings, we are slow learners who need lots of reassurance! I know in my own life, there have been many times when God has miraculously provided for me and for my family, yet, I still struggle with doubt or look for another sign. There have been times when I have tried to persevere in prayer, when in my heart I was thinking, ” Do you not care, Lord? Why won’t you answer me?”
I don’t know about you, but I find a lot of comfort in knowing that my God – the God of the Universe – can still the sea with just a word or a blink or a thought. This tells me that if the waves are crashing in around my boat that He must want them to do so for some higher benefit. Maybe He wants to test my faith. Maybe He wants to teach me patience and persistence. Maybe He wants to give me an experience that will help me to be more empathetic with others in a similar boat. Maybe He is strengthening me for a job He has for me to do. I can rest assured that the moment that the storm is no longer beneficial to my soul, the Lord will take it away. That’s all I need to know. That’s all any of us need to know! Trust in Him – Just in Him!