On the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time we read a selection from Isaiah 50 about the suffering servant accepting insults. The suffering servant says
So, too, I set my face like flint;
I know I shall not be shamed.
and Jesus' warning in Mark 8 that
the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; …
He goes on to say
"anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake … will save it.
Puzzling? What does He mean about losing one's life? Earlier this week I talked to a woman who said that she was easily insulted and constantly feeling shamed. She said that this was because she had "an overly developed sense of entitlement." She had forgotten rule #62: "Don't take yourself too damn seriously." Once she recognized her situation and began to give up the idea that everyone owed her honor for even the slightest accomplishment, she could change. Remarks that she had imagined as insults, were now simply remarks. Having lost a part of her life - the sense of entitlement - she is now able to converse and react in a normal way, free from unnecessary resentments.
By losing our life, I suggest, Jesus meant that we should stop clinging desperately to those things, ideas, and attitudes that don't really belong to us in the first place. When we do, we will gain a new freedom and new happiness and will be open to the greater gift of life that Jesus holds for us.
Of course, as we act this way we may run into people who really don't like what we are saying. Then we can expect real insults and bear a bit of the cross