But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?
But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die. Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Turn! Turn,” bellowed Dad. When he quit steadying the bike, I focused on pedaling fast and holding tight… and crashed into the wall beyond the front tire.
Today’s readings speak of possible turns: away from evil; the path of virtue; leave your gift and go…clear advice, like Dad’s words. Sometimes the turn arrives too quickly, as it did for the rich young man or the girl on the bike. I must grow into a request before I give up riches or relax my death grip.
Most challenging for me are the day-to-day turnings. I desire to share God’s love but I get mired in traps, like gossiping or backbiting. I choose extravagance over charity. Good intentions wilt.
My question becomes “What is the loving path?” If like Ignatius, I possess a strong desire to love and serve the Lord, what do I need to turn away from and turn toward?
—Maureen M. Martin is a writer, spiritual director and hospice chaplain, living in Evanston, IL.
Turn to me, O man and be saved,
Says the Lord for I am God;
There is no other, none beside me.
I call your name.
I am He that comforts you;
Who are you to be afraid of man who dies,
is made like the grass of the fields, soon to wither.
Listen to me, my people;
Give ear to me my nation:
a law will go forth from me,
and my justice for a light to the people.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth down below.
The heavens will vanish like smoke,
and the earth will wear out like a garment.
Composer: John Foley, SJ