Slave or Free? Less or More? Reflections on the Sunday Readings for May 31, 2015

The Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40, Psalm 33, Romans 8:14-17, Matthew 28: 16-20

Why is it that so many people today attack Christianity?
What are they so afraid of?

Is it because the Church is perceived as an authority figure bent on depriving us of personal freedoms, especially that of choice?

Is it because it is seen as an institution that deprives rather than as a life choice that fulfills?

For it is a choice.

God gave us free will which we can exercise as we please. Since choices have consequences, we need to be well informed before deciding.

God gave us his Holy Word as a means of helping us to make an informed choice. A thoughtful examination of this week’s Sunday readings points to reasons why inviting God into our lives could be considered a good choice.

Powerful and generous

Lawrence OP Moses teaches the Law
Lawrence OP Moses teaches the Law, Flickr Creative Commons

The first reading portrays a powerful God, generous in spirit, going out of his way to demonstrate his love for his people. In Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40 Moses reminds the Israelites of all that has been done for them: “Did anything so great ever happen before?” referring to their miraculous release from slavery in Egypt. God intervened directly, raising a leader in Moses to take the people to a new land and a new life. The subsequent commandments of the Lord that Moses presented to the people were meant for their well-being, to ensure that they “may prosper” and have “long life.”

Does it sound like these people were being deprived?

The second reading from Romans 8:14-17 spells out the benefits of choosing God clearly: we are no longer slaves but children, heirs to a great fortune–a meaningful (though not trouble-free) life on earth and eternal life in paradise.

Deprived or privileged?

Michael Radwin Noam and Abba at Father's Day brunch
Michael Radwin Noam and Abba at Father’s Day brunch, Flickr Creative Commons

Children are disciplined and schooled, guided into adulthood by the love of their parents. We have the privilege of calling the Omnipotent God, the God we cannot see or ever hope to understand “Abba,” Daddy!

Slaves are deprived; children are privileged.

Spreading the word

With this in mind, today’s Gospel from Matthew 28 shows Jesus sending his disciples forth to spread the Word, the Good News, to inform the world that we can choose to be children; and not to be slaves.

Making a choice

Hartwig HKD Universe in a magic Drop
Hartwig HKD Universe in a magic Drop, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s that constant paradox that is Christianity: Submission means freedom. God’s commands leads prosperity and long life.

The choice is ours to make. How will we decide and where will it lead us?

It’s time to do the homework, to ponder and consider the consequences.

Our lives are too important to waste.

 

 

 

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