13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 2nd July 2017
A question of life and death
In the movie, Moonstruck, which featured Cher and Nicolas Cage, the matriarch of the family is involved in two conversations where the same question is asked twice: “Why do men chase women?” It is the same answer on both occasions: “Because they fear death.”
It seems the strangest answer and yet, in the context of this movie of infidelity and uncertainty of relationships, it seems the right one. The men in question are simply into death denial, that life, in fact, is passing them by.
In a sense we are all involved in the chase, not necessarily as presented in Moonstruck. People chase wealth, beauty, prestige, celebrity status, power over others – anything in fact, which will keep a sense of life-passing, at bay. (It has even been said of joggers that they too are into death denial! Their answer is simple: “We won’t live longer, but we will die fitter!)
Jesus today is asking us to embrace death. “Anyone who finds his life will lose it.” Jesus is saying that if we try to find status and importance simply in ourselves then we have lost life. If we give up everything that is passing, then we find a beautiful life deep inside us which lasts forever.
Sometimes the cost is great, even to losing the friendship of family because one has chosen to live as a follower of Jesus. However the benefits are great. Those who are kind to us, who profess to be disciples of Jesus, are promised a great reward from the Lord.
Fr. Michael McCullagh C.M.
*For those interested in this theme of daily death and ultimate death, the novel of John Updyke, Rabbit Run or Ernst Becker’s book, Death Denial will be interesting reading.