19 Feb Two Roads (Luke 9:25) by Father James Dean
“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” ~ Lk 9:25 (full readings)
Father James Dean’s Reflections: As the first reading (Deut 30:15-20) indicates, there are two (and only two) paths that we can follow. One leads to life and the other leads to death. Choosing the path of life brings prosperity and “the blessing.” Choosing the path of death brings doom and “the curse.” For the Christian, the prosperity is not earthly and the greatest blessing is the elevation, fulfillment and glorification of the life God has entrusted to us in the eternal life of Heaven. The worst doom and greatest curse is the second death, a share in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels in Hell. How do we choose life? By living lives of faith, hope and love – the three things that last, the greatest of which is love (1 Cor 13). And our love is embodied in our obedience to the commandments. Jesus told His Apostles at the Last Supper, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And though connected to earthly life, we see the importance of obedience to the commandments in today’s reading from Deuteronomy, “if you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God… you will live…” With Ash Wednesday barely in our rear view mirror and at the start of the season that commemorates Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, Jesus gives us the road map to following Him to eternal life. “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take us his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Let us pray that, by God’s grace, we will choose the life that is eternal with God… and be God’s instruments in helping us to do so also.
* Fr. James Dean was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Mobile in Alabama in 1991 and is currently the pastor of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Elberta, AL..
Faith Challenge: Take one of the commandments that you have particular difficulty following and concentrate on following it for one day. Consciously embrace the challenge and pray frequently throughout the day for the grace to be faithful to God’s holy will in this matter.
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Faith Quote: “Salvation is shown to faith, it is prepared for hope, but it is given only to charity. Faith points out the way to the land of promise as a pillar of fire, hope feeds us with its manna of sweetness, but charity actually introduces us into the Promised Land.” ~St. Francis de Sales