It seems the life of faith can sometimes feel like a ping pong match. On the one hand, a faith life is assenting to eternal truths. On the other hand, there is also the requirement to meet the needs of others in all we do as well.
The hard part about being tempted is that what tempts us seems at the time of temptation to be a good thing. The choice is never completely clear cut.
The first reading from Mass today is all about the challenge of living the Christian life. Authentic Christianity is about being a member of the body of Christ in a way that witnesses to all our care for others. The deeper we can place our faith in the Jesus who saves, the more our own struggles become manageable. It is not that we should not work on our own struggles, but we should do so by realizing we have Jesus really present in our lives. Turn toward others, and you will meet the Christ.
Isaiah, often the mouthpiece for God, was a man of innovation. He challenged people to think in a new way about an old covenant. Today he takes the concept of fasting, and builds on the connection between fasting for God, and the attention service God’s people demands. Jesus is asked about why his disciples do not fast. He essentially says there is a right time for everything. Knowing how to respond to God by reading the signs of the times and the signs of our faith, now is the time to fast.
Moses sets before the people today a blessing and a curse. It is hard to imagine that anyone would really choose a curse, but every time we sin we do. Why? How is it we can turn our back on God’s gift of life and choose the curse? Well, choosing life has consequences. Standing up for what is right and true can be hard, we can be persecuted for it. For this reason Jesus tells his disciples about his death, or warns his followers about self-denial and taking up a cross. Lent is a time where we are called to remember to take up a Cross so that we choose the blessing.
God puts before us a blessing and a curse. Seems like an easy choice, a no-brainer. Who would not want to choose the blessing, to choose life?