We are nearing the end of the season of Epiphany. The readings this week focus us more and more to seeing our need for a Savior, for Someone Who will rescue and redeem us from our sin.
The First Reading is recorded in Deuteronomy 30:15-20. This passage seems so easy to follow; Moses is giving the people of Israel what seems to be an obvious choice: chose to follow the LORD and live, or turn away from the LORD and die. The people whole-heartedly proclaimed that they chose the LORD and the life He gives. It seemed so easy, yet, they turned away and followed false gods and false ways, leading to terrible disasters.
We think we can do better and choose the way of the Lord, but sin lies close at hand, and we find ourselves falling back into sin’s grip. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we choose, we inevitably slip back into sinful ways. We need a Redeemer! We need someone to rescue us. Thanks be to God for sending Jesus to be our Lord and Savior! It is Jesus Who followed this command of the LORD completely, and it is Jesus Who gives us His perfect relationship with the heavenly Father through our Baptism into His death and resurrection. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.Jesus, our Redeemer, we hear the call to follow the Lord with our whole being, and we so much want to do just that, and we dedicate ourselves to following You with our whole being, then we find that we slip into sin again. Lord, turn us from ourselves, turn us to You and to the grace and mercy You give in Baptism. In faith let us receive Your perfect relationship with the heavenly Father, a relationship that we cannot attain by ourselves, but which is solely a gift of Your grace. Thanks be to You. Amen.
The psalm is recorded in Psalm 119:1-8. Notice how the person who completely follows the Lord will be blessed, and we want to receive His blessings; yet, we see that we fall short because of sin in our lives. Read this passage again, but this time from the perspective of Jesus: it is Jesus Who completely kept the prayer in this passage. And it is Jesus Who graciously gives us His fulfillment of this prayer in our Baptism. Let our righteousness be in Jesus, only He can redeem.
Lord Jesus, as we read this passage from Your perspective, we see Your perfect holiness and relationship with the heavenly Father. Each day renew in us this perfect relationship with the heavenly Father, each day lead us to repentance, amendment of life, and to new life in You. Amen.
The Second Reading is recorded in 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. The apostle Paul is forced in this passage to call the Corinthians back to Christ. They thought they were super-spiritual, but were really infants in Christ. Paul wants the Corinthians to see their need of Christ, not their own self-centered holier-than-thou spirituality. How do we fall into the trap of the Corinthians?
Holy Spirit, break through our self-centered holier-than-though spirituality and lead us back to Jesus each day. Enable us to grow in every way into Christ, the Head of the Church. In His Name, and for His sake, we pray. Amen.
The Gospel is written in St. Matthew 5:21-37. Again, we see a call to holiness, a call we need to heed and strive for. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we fall short of the holiness to which we have been called; we will see again the sin in our lives. As we see sin in our lives, let the Holy Spirit turn our eyes to see Jesus Who died and rose again to win forgiveness for us, and let us be led to repent each day, returning to His grace and mercy given in Baptism.
Holy Spirit, we hear the call to be holy, and we want to heed this call. Sometimes we follow, but all to often we fall short, all to often sin rears its ugly head in our lives, no matter how hard we try. Lead us back to Jesus, lead us back to the grace and mercy He alone gives through His death and resurrection. Lead us back to Your action in our lives through Baptism. Lead us back to faith, to repentance, and to amendment of life. Amen.