Today’s Old Testament reading is taken from the fifth book of the Bible, Deuteronomy (30:15-20). Here, Moses once again is found instructing the people anticipating their entry into the Promised Land. He has laid down blessings and curses that will be theirs depending on their behavior. He urges them to choose wisely between life (attained by obedience to God) and death (inflicted by disobedience, turning to other gods).
Life comes “by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him” (v. 20). “Choose Life” (v. 19) has become a popular slogan for pro-life advocates in recent years. In those two words are wrapped up the message to love God, listen to God, and hold fast to God. A culture of death inevitably occurs when we as a people don’t do any of those things. As God more and more rapidly is being eliminated from our midst, how can we love, listen, or hold fast to Him, if He is unknown and unwanted? Is it any surprise that respect for life wanes when respect for the Author of life wanes? The Lord allows us to use the gift of free will as we choose. But that doesn’t mean we can avoid the consequences. Yahweh, through Moses, says, that if the people turn away “you will not have a long life…I call heaven and earth today to witness against you” (vv. 18-19). This should send chills through us. If heaven and earth witness against us then the long life we should desire more than anything, that is eternal beatitude in the presence of the Blessed Trinity in heaven, will be lost. The author of death, Satan who started this all in the Garden of Eden, will have won that battle.
Let us always choose life on earth for ourselves and let us be uncompromising advocates for the most vulnerable in our world so that we will all enjoy the blessings of life here and in the world to come. Amen.