Picture: FMSL Canterbury
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Deuteronomy 30:15:20 Luke 9:22:25
Moses gave this message to the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness. The message is being given to us on our journey:
Choose life not death.
It is good for us to reflect on this because we are created to praise, reverence and serve God.
Does everything deaden me which is not promoting my praise, my self-importance, my comfort and security? This self centredness is the way of death. God centredness is the way of life. That is what Jesus is saying in today’s Gospel: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine let them renounce themselves, and take up their cross every day and follow me.”
Lent is thought of as the time for giving up more things than usual, God is seen as being most pleased with us when we are giving ourselves a hard time, and holiness is measured by our ability to endure suffering.
This is a total distortion of Jesus’ message. The renunciation which God asks is the renunciation of all things which is deaden us, so that we may live more fully, and to live more fully is to be freed from self-preoccupation so that we can delight in his creation, know ourselves and see our lives as a gift given to us so that others may live fully.
May God help us this Lent and always, Amen.