Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Moses, the leader for the Israelites, puts on his “lawyer hat” and speaks to his client, the Israel people, to present them with two different choices. In the first choice, the people obey the commandments of the Lord and are rewarded with blessings from the Lord (Deuteronomy 30:16). In the second choice, the people strive to be independent by serving themselves and other gods, which comes at the cost of being destroyed. To witness their decision, Moses calls upon heaven and earth (Deuteronomy 30:19). While Moses ultimately leaves the decision up to the people, one could see from the psalm today that the choice should be “blessed are they who hope in the Lord (Psalm 1).
Today’s Gospel text flips the notion that “money buys happiness,” with a simple question. “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself” (Luke 9:25)? In today’s world, where many businesses or jobs point out all the positive traits, Jesus does not sugar coat the upcoming difficulties that are associated with being a disciple: led before kings and governors, handed over by family members, or be put to death (Luke 21:12-19). Thus, the challenge for us today and this season of Lent is, is what are we or what can we give up to better follow Christ?