Readings for February 16, 2020
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Ben Sirah writes, “If you choose, you can keep the Commandments.” But does God allowing me to choose cause my own ambivalence? Do the Commandments become suggestions when I am able to pick and choose which ones I follow and when I will follow them? Looking around and also looking within, it is abundantly clear that the Commandments are often treated as mere suggestions, like Google Maps offering us optional routes to our destination. How many among us, knowing that a route is the fastest route, instead choose one that avoids tolls? And then, in so choosing, get to our destination frustrated that we’re later than we had anticipated?
I, in particular, want to make my own choices. I, in particular, like the illusion of being in control. Yet, my need for control can blind me to the consequences of my choices. I ignore that choosing the commands “will save you,” and in my need for immediate gratification, I forget that whether I choose life or death, it shall be given to me.
As Jesus explains in Matthew’s Gospel, the Old Law is not dead. Rather, it is fulfilled. And in its fulfillment, I am called to follow the Commandments. And while I may want to choose my own path to greatness, and make sure it isn’t too challenging, I know in my heart that the choices I make apart from God will never be great in comparison to God’s redemption and reward. After all, “Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; He is mighty in power and all-seeing.”
It is my choice. But in choosing, it would be prudent to recall just how much of God’s wisdom is beyond my own understanding. Kind of like when my mother told me to eat my vegetables. Parents. They just know better.
In all seriousness, it can still be difficult to choose to follow the commandments. But I want to choose life. I want to choose what is good. So I guess, even if sometimes begrudgingly, I should seek God’s wisdom and follow His commands. After all, it really will be the only path to greatness I need, for “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” And I’m not gonna lie—I like the sound of that!
Holy Spirit, give me the gift of wisdom. Not from the limits of my own understanding, but from the infinite wisdom of He who created me to return to Him. Guide me that I may choose obedience over comfort, love over avoidance, and perseverance over ambivalence. Amen