Ezekiel 18: 25-28; Psalms 25: 4-5, 8-9, 10, 14; Philippians 2: 1-11
Matthew’s Gospel 21: 28-32
Today’s reading from Ezekiel reminded me of conversations I have often had with family and friends when the cliché, “it’s not fair,” has crept into our discussions. We so often find cause to use this phrase when complaining about some situations or things that we don’t feel we deserve. Unfortunately, “fair” is a double-edged sword. If we ask for what is fair or deserving in the positive, then we must be willing to accept what is fair or deserving in the negative. If I am judged by my deservedness, then what happens when my behavior is less than ideal? Considering our human condition and that we don’t always do what is good or right for ourselves or others, I would opt for God’s mercy instead of fairness. Personally, I thank God that life isn’t fair. “Remember your mercies, O Lord.”
In the second reading, Paul speaks to the Philippians, encouraging them, and us, by using Jesus as the ultimate example of right behavior. He asks that we align ourselves to Jesus and to caring for each other before self. He speaks of Jesus’s humility and obedience, “to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Sometimes, when reading scripture, a word or phrase will stand out. For me, the word “obedient” caught my attention. I have never been a fan of this word. In the past, it has implied a loss of freedom or choice. I have found it forceful in its command. However, as I have matured and grown in understanding, I’ve realized that obedience can be my friend; it is not something that takes but something that gives. Over time, its forcefulness has mellowed into a gentle call rather than a command. It is a call to higher ground, safer terrain, and protection from harm. God asks obedience for no other reason than it is good for us. It leads us to all good things and especially to Him. It can also help to cultivate humility when pride stands in my way.
Matthew’s Gospel speaks about choice and changing our mind. The power and privilege given us through free will allow us to not only make choices but to correct poor decisions when necessary. How awesome a privilege. How do we discern the right choice from the wrong choice, though? In all things, I pray for the grace of discernment. I have learned the hard way to wait on God and not be impulsive. If I ask the question, then I must be willing to wait for the answer.
God is faithful and always keeps his promises.
As we continue to live through these difficult times, let’s remember to care for one another, seek God’s mercy, be humble and obedient in all things and pray for the grace and wisdom to make good choices.
Peggy Roach, Associate