Grace to you!
On this second day of Lent, I continue from the theme of yesterday by reflecting on how the choices we make in life matter.
As I hinted, the two central messages of Lent are a call to conversion and an invitation to a deeper relationship with the Lord. We do so by connecting with the events of his suffering and death on the cross.
From Ash Wednesday, what is called "pre-Lent," to the Saturday of the 3rd week of Lent, the message centers on repentance and conversion. From the 4th Sunday to the end of Lent on the Eve of Holy Thursday, the theme focuses on the person of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So, our reflections up to the 3rd week of Lent will, in one way or another, draw us to self-examination, leading to conversion or ongoing conversion.
May we return to our theme for today. Do the choices we make in life matter? It may sound like a dumb question. Nonetheless, experience shows it's a relevant question to ask.
Suppose you decide to eat chocolate every day. Would it affect your health? Suppose you choose to run the red light. Does it matter?
How about the choice to act unjustly, to be unfaithful in your relationships? Or not support your children when they need you the most, or not attend their graduation for no just reason? Such choices will have disastrous consequences, won't they?
How about the choice to reject God and his grace? Does it matter?
Experts in human development agree that the choices we make in life make or mar us. It’s a general human life ethical principle.
I suppose it's this ethical principle which the Lenten Season is drawing our attention to through the story in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 30:15-20. In the story, Moses, the most exceptional leader in the Old Testament, spoke to the people of Israel, calling on them to choose between the good and the bad, life and death.
Similarly, in the New Testament gospel of Luke 9:22-25, the Lord Jesus invited his disciples to consider the implicit choice connected with being his disciples. It has to do with the option for the cross, the sufferings entwined with being his follower. The invitation is extended to us too.
During this Lent, wouldn't it be a fantastic idea to add to our desire to be better people, the decision to choose what is good for us, since the choices we make in life matter? Please do not tell me your resolution for Lent is to choose to avoid coffee? Nice but…?
How about considerations such as the following. Are their choices I have made that need reconsideration? Are there choices that make me sad, bitter, resentful, generally unhappy, and depriving me of the joy of the Lord? Altering them is necessary—no need to procrastinate. Lent is a decision point.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday after Ash Wednesday: Dt. 30:15-20; Lk 9:22-25]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections for the season of Lent your individual spiritual edification. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations. .