Thursday, February 26, 2009

Take up your cross and follow

The scriptures that the Church presents to us during the Season of Lent are meant to be the map we use for our journey to Calvary, Easter, and our "springtime" of renewal.

Today's first reading come from the Book of Deuteronomy ( 30: 15-20), the last of the 5 books of the Pentateuch or the Torah (Law). Lent is not a time to be stingy with Scripture so why not try reading the whole of chapter 30 -- it's only 20 verses long.

Moses tells the people that they have a choice: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse." Why would anyone not choose the blessing, not choose life? And yet, so often in what we call the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, we find the People of Israel making the wrong choices; same thing in the New Testament, and again the same thing in real life today. "Making the wrong choice" is just another way of saying "sin." It's because we're not seeing things correctly: no one would ever deliberately choose a "curse" or "death" or would we? Sin is a major part of our life as human beings and as Christian believers. We see things from our own very limited perspective, and that makes it easy for us to "miss the mark", or sin.

In the Gospel, Luke 9:22-25, Jesus talks about sin and reconciliation this way: "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me ... What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?" And He would know.