Grace to you!
All around us, we make choices, don't we? We choose our home, our car, our food, and the movies we see. Not all these choices turn out as expected, yet we wanted them anyway.
For instance, one may not understand the importance of choosing a comfortable shoe until one wears a pair of shoes that hurt. The shoes may look fancy and beautiful, but they are heavy and improperly aligned. Because of the look, some may prefer them to a more comfortable, though less lavish shoe. The choice for the fancy over the suitable has consequences.
In nature, every choice we make has implications—good, bad, and ugly. It's how God has made nature. God desires us to choose from the abundance of his blessings in the world.
Scripture emphasizes this truth: “If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him” (Sirach 15:15-17). The Lord Jesus himself said about the Torah and the Prophets, "I have not come to abolish…but to fulfill" (Mt 5:17). He then gave us higher standards for life and asked us to make tough choices rooted in love of God and love of neighbor.
Some may say, why would there be many choices for us? Why would God allow evil amidst the good, making the decision more difficult?
My response, permit me, is in the form of a question: Why freedom? Why the right to choose if there is only one thing from which one can choose? The concept of choice would be ridiculous if there were no alternatives on the list.
Moreover, the beauty of being human is that we can choose.
In nature, God has inscribed the Law, and through Divine Revelation, he has shown us the good to choose and the evil to avoid. Not only did God do it on the tablet of stone in the Old Testament, but Christ also came in-person to reveal what real life in God is and what it entails.
God put in our souls the seed of his awareness, his voice, and that of morality, conscience, so we can choose what is good and avoid what is evil. His love, life in Christ, is poured into our hearts through the Spirit (Rm 5:5). It enables us to desire what the Spirit of the Law Giver is, both within and outside of us.
When God created us, he looked at all he made, and "it was very good." Meaning, the best possible world ever to be made has been made by God. Creation and the complexity of the moral law follow the laws set by the Creator. God has inscribed the laws and their accompanying reward in nature. We receive what we choose.
When the law in our hearts responds positively to the law of God, there is a sort of holy marriage within us. In such is living according to the Spirit of the Law. There is joy and true, transforming freedom. However, when there is a disconnect between the law within and the law outside of us, spiritual conflicts arise. Those conflicts reverberate.
Heaven is where the law within and the law outside finally become one, as designed from the beginning. Hell is where the separation reaches untold, unbearable proportions of conflict and pain.
May God give us the grace to choose wisely, all the time. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[6th Sunday A: Sir 15:15-20; 1 Cor 2:6-10; Mt 5:17-31 or 5:20-22A, 27-28, 33-34A, 37]
Photo Moses by Dimitri Conejo Sanz, Cathopic.com
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.