Today’s daily homily March 7, 2019 is written by Fr. Abu entitled, “Choose Life, not death; Choose the Cross and Follow Jesus.”
“ I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
I guess you may have heard the saying that: God who made you without your cooperation will not save you without your cooperation. Dear friends, life is a matter of choice. Every choice and every decision we make has a price as well as a prize. There is something to gain and something to lose.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells us that God has set before us life (good) and death (evil), blessings and curses. For those who choose life, Moses assures: “You shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land.” But for those who choose death instead, “You shall perish, you shall not live long in the land.”
In other words, God will never force His way on us. It is always going to be up to us to decide what becomes of us through the choices we make on a daily basis. We are free to choose, but we are not free to avoid the consequences of our choices.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus sends out an open invitation to us, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me for whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, will save it.”
Note that Jesus began with the word “If”. This means it is a choice. No one is forced to follow Jesus. It is a decision that has to come from your heart, a choice to deny yourself, to take up your cross every day and follow behind Jesus.
Following Jesus is not a popular choice. Choosing to live in the spirit rather than in the flesh, denying the flesh of its passions and cravings is not something many people would like to do. Little wonder Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Denying oneself is another word for self-discipline. It is the ability to say “No” to the self regardless of how tempting a desire may be. According to St. Paul, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we, an imperishable…. I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
Now is the time to stay clear of harmful pleasures. Now is the time to discipline and subdue your body. Do not be afraid of denying your body of its cravings and desires. Jesus says: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Choose to live by dying to your flesh and its desires. Take up your cross, bear the pain, follow the footsteps of Jesus, flee from sin and you will have eternal life.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to follow you by making the right choices, Amen!
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday after Ash Wednesday. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalm 1, and Luke 9:22-25).