In the middle of today’s Gospel we hear Jesus utter these strange and incredulous words: “I am troubled now.” What? Jesus is troubled? If He is troubled, then it must be OK for me to feel troubled over what He has just said: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Those are tough words and He doesn’t offer any dilution in the form of an explanation or apology. Could these words trouble Him in the same way they trouble me?
When the Son of God took on human flesh He did so completely. He experiences everything we experience except sin; He never disobeys the Father. He is about to enter into His hour and give Himself away completely for our salvation. Paul says, “He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. It’s not easy to obey. In fact, it can be troubling.
We all consider ourselves generous and are filled with joy when our generosity is recognized by others. Even a simple “Thank you,” can be reward enough to satisfy our hungry ego. Notice how Jesus shuns any reward or recognition in lieu of His simple prayer of praise, “Father, glorify your name.” He is showing us what it means to hate our life in this world by giving away any form of recognition or self-satisfaction. He gives Himself away so completely that all recognition is given to the Father for the sake of our salvation. He cares for us more than for His own praise and recognition.
To hate this life is to give myself away completely. It is to shun any reward or recognition except that which comes from God, in silence. Even the self-satisfaction of knowing I have done good can fill my heart with EGO-food that Edges God Out.
We cannot achieve this state of giving on our own. It takes God’s help. This is why we pray over and over again, “Create a clean heart in me, O God.”