Scripture: 1at Reading: Deut30,15-20; Resp. Psalm: Ps1,1-4,6; Gosp. Accl.: Mt4,17; Gospel: Luke9,22-25
The word of God is alive and active. The word gives life. The will of God is expressed in His word. The commandments of God regulate the conduct of our relationship with Him. The commandment of God must therefore be kept if we are to enjoy a good relationship with Him. To enjoy a good relationship with God means that we have life within us.
When we keep the commandments of God, we live. Moses was given the commandments by Yahweh. Today, Moses told the people that keeping them by loving the Lord with all their hearts, obey them, walking by God's ways, leads to life and prosperity and multiplication. When the people obeyed the voice of their God, Yahweh would bless them in the land they were entering to possess, they would become so great a nation that none would be able to compare with them.
To choose to obey Yahweh was to choose life. To choose to disobey Yahweh was to choose death. To choose death was to turn the hearts away from Yahweh, to refuse to hear His voice, to be drawn away to worship other gods and serve them. When the people did this, they would definitely perish and would not live long in the land which they were going in to possess.
To choose life and blessing over death and curse is to love the Lord, obey His voice, cling to Him. To choose life is to know and demonstrate it in our everyday lives that we are nothing before God and nothing without Him. To choose life is to know that our lives have meaning only with Him in them. To choose life is to know that we depend totally on God for the direction of our lives.
Our Lord today clarified this in a very powerful way. To choose life is not by clinging to this passing existence that we call life. To choose life in fact entails losing this life that we cling to as if they were our own. For our Lord, the example He gave us is that of the Son of man who must suffered many things, was rejected, killed but who was raised on the third day.
To choose life is to come after Him, deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him. This is because it is foolhardy to think that we can save our lives by ourselves. It is equally a great folly to gain the whole world and lose ourselves, that is, suffer the loss of our lives.
Lent is a period given to us to reflect on the meaning of true life. There are choices we have made in the past that only lead to death. There are choices we made that have never promoted us to greater righteousness and holiness but have estranged us from God. They are choices we must forego this Lenten season and always. May the good Lord assist us to choose life over and above death, to prefer blessing to curse, to lose the entire earth so as to gain heaven.
Let us pray: "Prompt our actions with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord, and further them with your constant help, that all we do may always begin from you and by you be brought to completion." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele