Study: Reflect on a time when you had to make a decision that had profound consequences. What helped you decide wisely?
Pray: Do you have a major decision in life right now? Bring your concerns before the Lord for wisdom and guidance.
Serve: How can you empower another to make good and holy choices today?
Let’s start with a quick recap of the readings:
- 1st Reading – We have freedom to choose…good or evil, life or death
- Psalm – “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”
- 2nd Reading – Wisdom comes from the Spirit, hidden & mysterious
- Gospel – Jesus establishes a new level of intensity for faith in God
The first reading from the Book of Sirach makes it clear that we have the freedom to make choices in our lives for good or evil, life or death. This concept of Free Will – that we are so free that we can reject even God himself – comes with sobering consequences: Those who choose life will find it, and those who choose destruction will find it…
The Psalm response encourages us to choose the Lord. As we seek to know the Lord through Prayer, Scripture, Fellowship and Sacraments we conform our hearts to Christ. Following the Lord means that we seek instruction, learn God’s commands, and then apply our faith in all aspects of our lives.
The second reading reveals the mystery of God’s wisdom, hidden through the ages and revealed in Christ, which is granted to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit – requested by Jesus and given by the Father – that our minds and hearts receive the Good News and act on it with conviction and power.
Finally, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus sets a new standard of living. Using four precepts of the Law of Moses, the Lord demands that we go farther than what was formerly prescribed:
- Thou shall not kill now extends to reconciliation for any offense
- Adultery now extends to all forms of lust
- Divorce takes on a larger context
- Making an oath now changes to meaning “Yes” and “No”
The Lord makes it clear that he is doing something new, building upon the precedent of the Law and moving far beyond it. Jesus calls his disciples to a deeper level of commitment, moving beyond the moral code to a morality that is written upon our hearts. We find ourselves more aware of the destructive power of sin, turning away from its snare and embracing a life in Christ.
And thus we find ourselves back at the first reading. We have a choice. No matter what has gone before we can make a break from the past and choose life! Today we seek Jesus and ask for the grace we need to choose Him with all our heart.
Note: This post was first published on February 12, 2017.