Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Choice

     The Catholic Church is often portrayed as a restrictive organization, run by men, who seek to exert their dominion over a timid and obedient flock.  Whatever the rules, great or small, vital or minor, it boils down to a matter of subservience.  Whether it is not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, or having to attend Mass on Sundays, or the current contraception controversy, or marriage between one man and one woman as a norm for society, if you don't buy in to what the Church teaches, the premise is that you are going to hell.  Who are they to tell us what we have do believe, what we have to do?

     Long before the Church expressed her beliefs, there was a man named Moses who spoke to his people for God.  They were a mishmash of a people, with no strong belief in something greater than themselves, with only a faint remembrance of a God who guided the lives of their ancestors, with no sense of unity and little hope for survival apart from the oppressive security that was their experience in Egypt.  But when they called out to the God of their ancestors, he answered, and brought them out of Egypt and gave them the promise of a land of blessing and watched over them along the way.  He gave them laws to guide their lives and to bring good order, to help them overcome the uncertainties and hurdles that they faced.  He cared about them.

     Then he made something very clear.  These laws, these guidelines, this way of life, required of them a CHOICE - and the choice was simple yet crucial.  The bigger question is not "Do I follow this law or not?"  It is "Do I accept a life giving relationship with a God who has chosen me and welcomed me into his world and desires to bless me?"  If I don't want that, but would rather fend for myself and ultimately confront darkness and hardship, death and doom, then the choice is mine.  The laws are freedom in that relationship rather than oppressive restrictions.  He says "Today I set before you life and prosperity, death and doom ... I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.  Choose life!"

     What is your choice?  How do we live that choice out this Lent?


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