Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

“Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:19).  According to Christ, obedience and greatness go together.   This is not a uniquely Christian idea.  It can be found in many philosophical and religious systems, such as Judaism and Islam.  For example, Moses says “I teach you the statutes and decrees as the LORD, my God, has commanded me…  Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence” (Dt 4:5-6).

We must obey God’s commandments, even if we do not understand them yet.  Such obedience can be counter-cultural and costly in our contemporary society, which so highly praises individualism.  Since the 20th century, it has been cool to rebel.  People will mock you if you choose to obey even when you don’t yet understand.  “Don’t be a pawn,” they’ll say.  “Be a king.  Be a queen.”

My friends, that is a path to destruction.  If you insist on being top dog, calling all the shots, then be honest: it can only last for so long: a few decades at most.  Illness, old age and death will catch up with you.  Your weakness and your limitations will be revealed, one way or another, and then who will save you?  Yourself?

God can only do so much for us if we refuse to be saved by him.  If we reject his commandments, he will respect our choice.  But, if we choose to obey, then a great reward awaits us in his Kingdom.  Jesus has promised us so much.  Let us turn to him now, and follow wherever he leads.

March 2nd, 2016