Christians sometimes get accused of spiritual egotism because they seem to only be concerned with their own salvation. Pope Benedict XVI addressed this in his encyclical Spe Salvi (n. 28) when addressing a conception of hope that saw salvation as nothing more than striving for “my” salvation:
Our relationship with God is established through communion with Jesus—we cannot achieve it alone or from our own resources alone. The relationship with Jesus, however, is a relationship with the one who gave himself as a ransom for all (cf. 1 Tim 2:6). Being in communion with Jesus Christ draws us into his “being for all”; it makes it our own way of being. He commits us to live for others, but only through communion with him does it become possible truly to be there for others, for the whole.
Paul in today’s First Reading is torn between just wanting to die and be with Jesus or remaining on earth for the sake of his flock, and he makes the noble choice because he knows well that he’s not going to be saved on his own, nor should he expect others to be. His flock needs him. Would it be beautiful, full of Christian hope, to die and to be with Our Lord forever? Yes, but since we won’t get there alone we should also focus on helping others to get there as well first.
Our life should be suffused with a hope that fills us with a joy no one can dampen. Let’s ask Our Lord to help us to help others to believe and hope as well so that we can all enjoy Heaven one day together.