The Choice is Ours
Today’s readings offer us a choice; a choice between life and death, between prosperity and adversity.
In the commandments or Laws that Moses presents to the people he offers a moral code from God which describes how they are to conduct themselves and get along with one another. The choice of following these laws is up to the people but it is clear that they will bear the consequences for their choice.
This image of God; sending rules by which we must abide or be punished is seen by some as harsh. However if we stop and look at the logic most rational people will admit that without this kind of moral code, civilization as we know will start to become unraveled. What if we could kill anyone who provoked us, what if adultery was the norm, what if we took whatever we wanted no matter who it belonged to? One can quickly see that such a society would fall far from the Utopia that one would hope for. As much as the commandments are divine laws they are also very natural laws. They support themselves by their natural consequences.
In the Gospel Jesus presents to his disciples a different kind of choice. He presents a choice that goes against the natural tendency toward self-preservation. He says that if someone wants to follow in his way then that person must deny themselves and take up a cross.
Why would someone want to join a way that made us give up ourselves for the good of another? Why would we believe that there is meaning that can be found in our suffering? Nothing in our DNA would suggest this. This choice pushes us beyond the bounds of the natural and points us toward the Divine. Jesus is revealing that there is something greater, something which is even beyond our complete understanding which brings life in greater abundance than earthly life can ever reveal.
To follow this way is a leap of faith but, if we choose to do so, it quickly reveals its truth to us as we become more loving, more generous, more peaceful, more joy filled people.
The season of Lent is an opportunity to take that leap. Put yourself aside, make the other first. Give up something that you think is so important that you can’t do without and you will find that you will not become less. You will become so much more.