Today’s readings speak to us about remaining in relationship with God. In the first reading, Nahum prophesies that Israel’s subjection to Nineveh will not stand. God will deliver them and watch over them, but notice the command he gives them to fulfill:
Celebrate your feasts, O Judah,
fulfill your vows!
For nevermore shall you be invaded
by the scoundrel; he is completely destroyed.
So the freedom they receive is a freedom to worship and serve God, fulfilling their vows.
Jesus, of course, takes it several steps further. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Following the law was the first step, but it was pretty basic. Even if the people obeyed it – which they often did not – it was still a matter of will mostly, and not heart. Jesus calls us to make the same sacrifice he did: lay down our lives for one another out of love.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” And isn’t that the truth, really? When we get so caught up in ourselves and our own pettiness, how quickly life slips away and we wonder what it all meant. But when we lose our lives following Christ and loving God and neighbor with reckless abandon, well, then we have really found something.
God loved us first and best, and always seeks covenant with us. He gives us freedom to choose relationship with him. How willing are we this day to lose our lives relentlessly spending the love we have received from our God with others?