We all must make decisions in life, day to day as well as about where our life is going. We need to remember that God gives us guidance, moment by moment and for our whole life. God has a plan for the life of every human being alive today. Our challenge is to determine what that plan is. The wonderful book of Sirach lays that out for us, “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.” (Sirach 15:15 – 16, see Deuteronomy 30:15). If we trust in God we will have life, but trust is difficult. We have all trusted other people and been disappointed. We all believe that God is all powerful and all knowing, but can I trust Him. I believe that trust in God is the most important, and most difficult of Christian virtues.
We need to remember that the foundation of life is our relationships. True relationships must be built on trust. That is our human experience. Christ came into the world not just to proclaim the truth of God, although He did that, but to offer us relationship with Him. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, “Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself.” (Dei Verbum 2).
The Gospel reading for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary time this year is from the Sermon on the Mount. Christ goes into a lot of detail about what authentic life requires, about how to make decisions in life. Read St. Matthew, chapters 5 and 6 (your homework assignment). Look for the thread of relationships. For example;
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
I believe, even more forcefully, in Matthew 6:31 – 33 we hear Christ implore us to trust Him;
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
From the time we were born, our relationships has been the foundation of our lives, whether we knew it or not. Christ calls us to a relationship with Him and gave us a framework for authentic human life. However, He calls us to something deeper, love. Love is not just about following the rules. Love in the example of Christ is about self giving. That is the example of the Cross. That is how we are reconciled to God. That is the Mass, the same sacrifice that Christ offered for our redemption. The commands that Christ gives us are important (John 14:14, John 14:21, etc.), but the meaning of the directives we receive from Christ, from the Church, is living authentic love.