Scripture: Lectionary 221, Feb 23. Deuteronomy 30:15-20. Psalm 1:1-126.96.36.199. Luke 9:22-25
Choices and decisions are important in our lives. This includes those choices that deal with our relationship with God and neighbor as well as some of the personal choices that are within the secrecy of our hearts. Today’s Scriptures help us to think about and reflect upon how to make good choices and decisions. Reason, sound judgment, and discernment through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are part of the decision making process both in our spiritual lives and our ordinary ways of living out life.
Deuteronomy is an I –Thou book of Scripture. Like the Gospel of John it involves making a decision about how we relate to God. This covenant book is a pure gift from God that can help us through this season of Lent. We listen to God’s voice through Moses, the great leader and law giver of Israel: “Choose life…by loving the Lord your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.” These are motivational and emotional words that go straight to the heart. We are receiving clear advice from this great book of the Scriptures.
Jesus also offers advice for leading the life of love and commitment to God. We follow him by taking up our cross, denying ourselves so that we may experience God in our minds and hearts. What profit is there in gaining everything this world has to offer and then losing the life that God created us for and proved through the example of his Son Jesus who gave himself totally to the will of the Father and showed us the way of the Cross. The question posed in the last verse of the Gospel is one that we could meditate upon each day of this Lenten journey with our brothers and sisters.
The framework of our making the right decisions and choice is seen in Psalm 1 which opens up the whole book of psalms for us. We are to choose the right path and know it through its flowing waters that nurture the trees that never fail in producing fruit nor losing their leaves. It is a wisdom psalm that has as its context making the right choice by taking the right path in life under God’s guidance in and through the Holy Spirit.
We have the Divine Indwelling within our hearts that we received at our Baptism. Through developing our baptismal gifts of the Spirit and of faith, hope, and love, we are choosing life. It is a life of abundance that leads us to everlasting life. Jesus is there with us when we make such decisions as these Scriptures advise. Our Lenten Journey has begun, let us choose life! Amen.
Prayer and added reflection: Luke intensifies our call to embrace the life God wishes us to live on a daily basis. We lose our lives in order to gain them through our following of the Son of God. Here is where we find the true meaning of the gift of life God has given us. This is a paradox. Yet, life is full of paradoxes. Jesus doesn’t make it easier for us in using paradoxes but he does force us to think through our choices and decisions.
We pray: We pray, Lord, to help us take up the cross you have given us each day. May we choose life over death so that as we approach the goal and final celebration of this sacred season in the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, we may continue each of these Lenten days with the help of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Amen.