Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25
In a “Faustian bargain” one sells his or her eternal soul to the devil in exchange for temporal goods. The term originates from a legendary man who bargained with the devil for unlimited knowledge and possessions. Unfortunately, many people forfeit their souls at a much lesser price. The readings today exhort us to avoid all such arrangements.
Moses is speaking to the people just before they enter the Promised Land. He says that God will give them “life,” i.e., prosperity for them and their descendants. They only have to keep to His ways. In the gospel Jesus offers an even greater life. His followers can secure an eternal reward by focusing on him rather than their own needs. They are to live without complaints doing only good for others.
The whole purpose of Lent is to reinforce the habits of self-denying love in order to have fullness of life. Like any exercise worth our while, it takes effort. But we share the experience with one another in the Church and also with Christ. The burden becomes, paradoxically, a joy in such good company.