Thursday after Ash Wednesday
(Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25)
It is always interesting to see how people deny reality. What is both conventional wisdom and the result of scientific experimentation can be not only ignored but refuted. One such reality is the added value of lifestyle to a long, healthy life. Scientific studies indicate that on the average diet and exercise contribute between sixty and seventy percent to longevity. Yet some people insist that living ninety years or more is solely the product of “good genes.” This denial is not worse than that regarding Moses’ prescription for a long life in today’s reading from Deuteronomy.
The Book of Deuteronomy was finally redacted after the Babylonian exile. It was used to explain the ignominy of that bitter experience. It supposedly foretells how the people could have chosen life in the land that God had given by obeying His commands. Instead they followed crooked ways ignoring the poor and worshipping false gods. Yet Deuteronomy does not end in hopelessness. One of the book’s final chapters tells of the Lord’s eternal willingness to resurrect His fallen people.
We too have fallen – at least a little, at least sometimes. We act in ways that are not like God’s as we know Him in Jesus Christ. We cling to resentments and try to justify our mistakes. We eat and drink to excess and curse at other drivers. We need to take to heart the offer of life that God continually extends to us. If we want to live, we have to make God’s ways ours. For this reason we have the season of Lent.