Deuteronomy 30:15–20; Psalm 1:1–2, 3–4, 6; Luke 9:22–25
In the movie (based on the play by Robert Bolt) A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More is on trial on trumped-up charges, having angered King Henry VIII, who had set himself up in place of the pope as head of the church in England.
A young protégé of More, Richard Rich, supports the king and commits perjury to give evidence that condemns More to death. Rich’s reward for his treachery is appointment as attorney general for Wales. More looks at Rich and asks, “Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . . But for Wales?” In today’s Gospel, Luke gives the source of the line More is quoting, as Jesus declares: “What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” (9:25).
Thomas More was a scholar, author, lawyer, family man, and chancellor of England. His intense spiritual convictions led him to oppose Henry’s divorce and break with Rome. More’s choice led to his death as a martyr in 1535.
Thomas More’s courage and convictions offer us inspiration as Lent begins to work with the grace of God over forty days, remain focused on who we are as followers of Christ, withstand the world’s distractions, and make the “man for all seasons” a great role model to follow.
How are you being challenged to conversion during this Lent? List one or two of your greatest temptations.
God of our self-denial, show us how to embrace the cross of Jesus.
Give us the wisdom to reorder our priorities so that we might gain eternal life.