Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Choose to live
"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live . . ." (Deut 30:19).
The scripture readings for this second day of Lent issue a single call: choose to live.
Seems like an obvious choice, right? Maybe not, because it turns out that we are addicted to actions and attitudes that are killing us, both physically and spiritually. We wound our loved ones; we inflict unjust suffering on neighbors near and far; we destroy the environment upon which we all depend, and we even harm our own bodies.
And the worst part is, we don't really want to change. Our current ways feel familiar, often comfortable, or at least not as difficult as struggling against the status quo. Whether we tend toward complacency or despair, we are tempted to slip gradually into annihilation.
But the Word of God speaks to our deepest desire: to have life in abundance. Today's psalm offers the image of a person animated by the love of God, who "is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade" (Ps 1:3). With God's grace, we can build lives of justice, peace, wholeness, gratitude, love and joy. This appealing vision can be real, if we choose it.
But to receive this abundant life, we must open our hands, relinquish our habits of death, and take hold of something new. Jesus admonishes in the gospel, "whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Lk 9:24). The process is difficult, but it's worth it. Let us journey together as one faith community toward the life that God intends for us.
Dr. Cara Anthony