THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2020


MASS READINGS:


A reading from Deuteronomy 30:15-20


Moses said to the people: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”


REFLECTION: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom."


Life is a battle. Not only with the physical world, but the spiritual as well.


Every day, from the moment we wake up, we make a choice. Do I get up when the alarm goes off? Or do I choose to sleep in?


Do I complain because I am still tired? Or do I make a sign of the cross to thank God for a new day?


We engage in a battle from the moment we wake up and thus choose a side. A choice between complaining and throwing a tantrum; or the sign of the cross to accept my cross and carry it.


God is always a gentleman. He gives me the choices to make, but never forces me to choose one or the other.


And I know that His will for me is the one choice I should follow, because the path He lays before me is the one that will bring ultimate happiness. Probably not in this world, but in the next.


Sometimes I choose His will for me. And sometimes I don't. Sometimes the choice is between two good things, so I have to slow down, think, and pray about it.


This battle, this choosing will not end until the last nail is in my coffin. And that is the beauty of the gift of life. Life is not predetermined. I have a choice on what to do or not and I can ask God for help. He is not leaving me alone.


Pain and suffering are part of the human experience, of life. We all share in this reality.


"Life and Prosperity" might have meant literally riches in the OId Testament. I look around to other Christians, other faithful Catholics, and in the PAPA family, and see that "Life and Prosperity" is really something intangible. In this way we are following together, helping each other, on our way towards God.


It is not the easiest way. It is, however, not a lonely choice. It is a joyful choice that cannot be measured in pounds, kilos, miles, or meters.


It is a choice that started with a calling at St. Clement's Monastery, about our PAPA prayer, and how it unites us with each other. Together in this prayer we humbly ask God the Father to have mercy on His priests. To heal His Church.






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