Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Deuteronomy 30; 15-20
Luke 9: 22-25
Ash Wednesday was yesterday, and we were smeared with ashes to remind ourselves that we are dust and to dust, we shall return. At 2:30 yesterday afternoon a gunman entered the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, near Fort Lauderdale and began shooting. The most tragic picture for me was a blond haired lady crying hugging a younger woman, and the blond haired lady had a cross of ashes on her forehead. This is a full reminder that we are dust and to dust, we will return. News of this kind always leaves me feeling helpless, a bit frightened, but isn’t it amazing how God’s word speaks to us right when we need it the most?
In our first reading, Moses says, “Today I have set before you a choice, of life or death.” He continues by saying, “Choose life!” As the people enter the Promised Land, you would think the decision would be easy, but Moses entices the people even more as he says, “If you choose life, even your descendants will live and know the blessings of the Lord.” Recently, I complimented someone on a job well done. His response to me was, “I am doing what my daddy taught me, and that is to treat people as I want to be treated.” Choose life!
In our Gospel, Jesus is facing tremendous sufferings, a suffering that will eventually lead to his death. Jesus gives us hope as he tells us he will rise above all suffering as he will be raised from the dead.
May we put our weapons of destruction, which can be our words, thoughts and actions away and take out our weapons of love, peace, and forgiveness? Lent has much to teach as we learn to place our trust in God as we face our hardship and trails. May we pray for and remember all those affected by the shootings in Florida. May we always choose life!