Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the 1600’s and 1700’s, heated battles were fought over which was the best way to move towards God. Everyone believed in God but most persons believed that there was a right or a wrong way and that one’s immortal soul was placed in jeopardy if the wrong choice was made. The battle field shifted substantially in the 1800’s and the 1900’s and into our present century when the battle now rages between those who believe in a providential God and those who see immortality and divinity as wishful projection.
Today’s first reading speaks to God forming persons in the very womb. Fundamental in this forming is the instilling of a relationship between God and the individual. This reading basically articulates the battle line drawn between those who believe in an active, providential, and loving God and those that hold everything we know is the result of a random material action.
The choice we play out as a consequence of either fundamental belief systems was the same choice played out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some saw the material world as the apex of creation and saw the limited laws of nature such as survival of the fittest as the applicable norm for moral life. Others looked to the law given by a loving and merciful God and acted in accordance with that love.
Today’s readings echo another line from the Hebrew Scriptures: “Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and disaster.” (Deuteronomy 30:15) The militant atheism of 20th century provided sad evidence of the consequence of siding with a materialist world view. Choosing to remain in God’s love and acting on that love has been the proven success for life and prosperity for all.