CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCES

Thursday 11th February: Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCES

How many people today live in deep sorrows and regret as a result of the poor choices made in the past? Much as we all have intrinsic desires to be free and exercise our freedom, it is important we ask ourselves how often we consider the obvious and possible consequences of our actions. No matter where we stand on this, an obvious fact is that we cannot just wish away the consequences of our choices. As youths in particular, we can choose to be diligent or slothful; to be chaste or sexually loose. We can choose to allow our character and conscience to be shaped by the eternal word of God or by the deceptive standard of this world.

Despite God’s love and intimate fellowship with our first parents, Adam and Eve, there freedom of choice was well respected by Him (Genesis 3). This continues to be the case even with us Christians of today. God seeks that we would make a choice of Him and His precepts in liberty and love. He continues to make clear to us, as we can see in today’s Gospel, that a decision to follow Him will necessarily demand self-renunciation (Luke 9: 23-24) and a wholehearted acceptance of our crosses.

However, we must never allow ourselves to be deterred by the demands or challenges of righteous pursuits. The Psalmist today is full of encouragement on this – “Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord” (Psalm 1). He who flees the pains of godly discipline must be prepared to accommodate the pains that come with the contrary alternatives. The admonition of Moses to the Israelites in today’s first reading remains relevant to us Christians of today – Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). It is only in accepting the life-giving precepts of God that we can be assured of His unfailing blessings and have fulfilment of heart. Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows (Psalm16:4).

PRAYER: Constantly make clear to me your blessed will oh Lord and kindly fill me with renewed grace to accept and abide by it! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1696- The way of Christ “leads to life;” a contrary way “leads to destruction.” The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decision for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30: 19b).

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20; Psalm 1: 1-4, 6; Luke 9: 22-25

MAKE GOD YOUR CHOICE TODAY

Friday 21st August – Memorial of St Pius X, Pope

Reflection: Ruth 1: 1-6, 14-16, 22

MAKE GOD YOUR CHOICE TODAY

During the exchange of vows in holy matrimony, the couple chooses to stick with and love each other totally; through everything and with everything. In the presence of God and the Church; two people are joined and become one by choice and it might be right to say; that would be the second most important decision of their lives; second to only one decision – the decision to follow Christ. Have you made this most important choice?

In today’s first reading, Ruth had every justification to return to her people and her gods. But she chose to endure the famine with Naomi, her elderly widowed mother-in-law who had lost her sons. The death of Ruth’s husband did not make her rethink her commitment to him and that led her to an even greater choice: She chose to serve the living God even in hardship. Thus, becoming a model for us Christians.

Christ’s arms are always open to receive us as His children. He has made the ultimate sacrifice for us by His own freewill; giving up His life for our salvation. If we were baptised as infants, our parents made a choice of faith for us. Yet, after the age of reason, the Church offers us the opportunity to renew our baptismal vows and pledge our allegiance to God over and over again. Have we made the firm choice to love God with our whole hearts and follow Christ come what may? Ruth made the choice for the God of Israel and became privileged to be the great grandmother of King David and one of the only three women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. Make God your choice today and see the great things He is willing to do through you.

PRAYER: Lord, give me strength to stick with you come what may. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 25 Why does the faith require definitions and formulas?

Faith is not about empty words but about reality. In the Church, condensed formulas of faith developed over the course of time; with their help we can contemplate, express, learn, hand on, celebrate, and live out this reality.

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that you and your descendants may live, loving Yahweh, listening to his voice, and being one with him. In this is life for you and length of days in the land which Yahweh swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Ruth 1:1.3-6.14-16.22; Psalm 146:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40

GOD DOES NOT SEE AS MAN SEES

Tuesday, 21st January – Tuesday of week 2 of the year

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reflection: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13

GOD DOES NOT SEE AS MAN SEES

For us to have a flourishing Christian life, our hearts must daily resound with the above truth. The lessons taught to Samuel in the choice of a new king for Israel from among the sons of Jesse remain vital in our modern age as Christians.

As youths, we are in a crucial phase of life; it is both a formative and developmental phase for us. Alongside these, life will oblige us to make some critical choices. Some of the decisions are so fundamental that they can erode the gains of our formative and developmental years if wrongly made. One of these choices is that of a life partner, for as many as are called to the vocation of marriage. As Samuel was deceived in his mind by Eliab’s appearance, so are we also susceptible to error when we priamarily make factors like appearance, money, educational qualifications, family status and tribe the sole determining factors in the choice of a life partner.

“Man looks at the appearances but the Lord looks at the heart” (1Samuel 16:7). If man has not perfectly known himself, how much can he then claim to know his neighbor? (Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 14:12; 1 Corinthians 13:9). Much as we should have desirable attributes for our future spouses, we must humbly submit them to God in prayer (Psalm 37:5) counting on His promise that: “No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).

As we seek and pray for the right partner, let us also prepare ourselves and pray towards being the right partner too.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for your wonderful plans for me. Please help me to cooperate with you for their fulfillment. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 507 – What happens if you find that prayer does not help?

Prayer does not seek superficial success but rather the will of God and intimacy with him. God’s apparent silence is itself an invitation to take a step farther—in total devotion, boundless faith, and endless expectation. Anyone who prays must allow God the complete freedom to speak whenever he wants, to grant whatever he wants, and to give himself however he wants.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than you ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55: 8-9 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1Samuel 16: 1-13; Psalm 89: 20-28; Mark 2: 23-28