Thursday after Ash Wednesday
(Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25)
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” writes poet Robert Frost discerning the direction he should take in life. One road, he says, “bent in the undergrowth” as if it was so well traveled that one might lose oneself on it. He took the other one because, he claims, it seemed less worn. Is that second trail the road of life, which Moses exhorts the Israelites to follow in today’s first reading and which Jesus delineates in the gospel?
Moses also refers to a choice. He exhorts the Israelites to choose wisely in what may be called a fork in the road ahead. One prong will lead them to life and prosperity through love of God and compliance with His commandments. The other will bring them to dissolution through self-indulgence and injustice. Jesus explicates what God desires of humans: that they deny themselves for His sake. He too mentions a choice. One can gain the whole world and be imprisoned in it. Or she can lose everything that she has and find herself in the company of Jesus, the resurrected one.
Lent is a period of grace to reflect on the choices which the readings today propose. We are to spare ourselves of comfort so that we can focus on Jesus. He gave up everything so that we might choose life with him.