Dying to Self

My father was a wine maker. He knew the answer to the question: How much time does it take for grape mash to be fermented into good wine? He always answered: it takes time! But the time involved was less critical than the change this time brought about! My dad’s wine making was real transformation! And it was a real experience for our family for over 60 years!
The transformation Jesus speaks about in our Gospel today takes a lifetime of time. We learn only slowly to accept the demands of discipleship. We embrace the Gospel challenge because Jesus has promised that those who serve lose their life, and die will be given fullness of life and a share in his glory. And this transformation is worth all the time it takes.
Our human instinct is not to die but to cling to life. So what Jesus asks in this gospel is counterinstinctual. To be faithful disciples we must hand over our life by serving, by putting others’ needs ahead of our own, and by dying to self-centeredness. Through such serving and dying God transforms us and gives us a fullnesd of life and glory that we canot even imagine. And this transformation is worth all the time it takes.