Week 18: Friday

“What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?” (Matthew 16:26.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The first statement is ambiguous. At first it could be taken this way: Someone who loves being alive and thinks the present life is good manages his own life in order to live well according to the flesh, fearing death since by death he loses life. In this way, wanting to save his own life, he will lose it, having removed it beyond the boundaries of blessedness. Yet someone despising the present life because of my teaching and convinced of eternal life, even facing death for the sake of the truth may, because of piety, lose his own life in death. Yet the same one who lost his life because of me will instead save and keep it.

We could interpret the saying, however, in another way. If anyone knows what salvation is and wants to save his own life, after bidding farewell to his life, denying himself and taking up his cross and following me, he will, in terms of the world, have lost his life. But, having lost his life for me and my teaching, he will gain in the end this kind of loss, salvation.” (Commentary on Matthew, 10.)

Draw near to Your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in
You as their Creator and guide,
You may restore what You have created
and keep safe what You have restored.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen