“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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.
Both of today’s readings offer choices. In the First Book of Kings Elijah confronts the Israelites with the choice to follow Baal or the Lord God of Israel. In Matthew’s reading the disciples of Jesus are challenged with the choice of following or breaking the commandments. There are consequences to these choices. God gave us freewill to choose if we want to live with him or without him. He gave us the freedom to follow his way or our own way. In the Spiritual Exercises freedom is critical to the fundamental choice, “to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord.”
As we go through our everyday life, do we seek God’s grace that leads us to freedom from our own self-centeredness and freedom for a life of love and service to God and others? What must we surrender to be free?
—Jim Sweany is a Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition. He is associated with the Chicago Region Ignatian Volunteer Corps as a Spiritual Animator, reflector and Advisory Board Chair. He also directs the Spiritual Exercises for the SEEL program at Loyola University.
Teach me your paths, my God, and guide me in your truth.
—Psalm 25:4B, 5A