And he added, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. He will be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the law, and be put to death. Then after three days he will be raised to life.”
Jesus also said to all the people, “If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me! For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. What does it profit you to gain the whole world, if you destroy or damage yourself?
Everybody wants to be happy, but unfortunately a lot of people do not know how they can become happy. They set about to conquer happiness itself, like an elusive butterfly who forever escapes their avid chase. But, if they listened to Jesus as he speaks in today’s gospel reading, they would learn that happiness comes to you of its own accord (the butterfly lands on your shoulder when you have given up chasing after it!), when you stop looking for it. Happiness comes when you seek the happiness of those around you, forgetting your dear little ego and its endless claims for attention. That is what Jesus means when he speaks of “denying yourself” and “losing your life.” We find happiness when we stop looking for it and become intent on making others happy. Correlatively, the most bored and miserable people are those whose whole life revolves around their navel. Here Jesus is giving us a royal road to happiness—and it passes through our neighbor’s back yard!
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