By Renee Molner
I think that there’s something that we can all agree on. Life is hard. It’s difficult on ordinary days, and when you add in more, such as a global pandemic or a major election, stress just multiplies. I know that my heart has been aching in so many ways lately. It’s been aching for friends who are going through hard times; it’s been aching for the people I see who so desperately are missing their usual communities; it’s been aching for people I don’t know but hear about on the news. And sometimes, it just feels like nothing can fully console me.
The psalm from today reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” I’m all too aware that the world cannot satisfy me. It’s so important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I continually have to remind myself that I wasn’t made for this world. There’s a whole paradise awaiting us. The Creator of the Universe is pursuing each and every one of us. And our souls are thirsting for Him, too.
In the Gospel today, Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”
I know that when my soul is especially thirsting for God, when I feel empty and alone, this is the time in which I most need to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Him. I need to show an abundance of love and mercy to my neighbors, just as I know I need that love and mercy from them. Everyone is going through something; Jesus reminds us not to get caught up in the things of this world, but to treat each other as he treats us and to keep our sights set on Heaven. Even when it’s difficult and when we’re losing patience. Even when we’re hurt or angry. Especially in those moments – we have to reorient ourselves to His will and His ways. We have to choose to act out of love.
Our world is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
And when our world thirsts for Him, we must walk alongside each other, making decisions out of Christ-like love and not out of anger or spite or hate. We must deny our own sinful nature and work together for good.