- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for February 18, 2021

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

The Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Luke 9: 22-25

“Today I have set before you, life and prosperity, death and doom” (Deut. 30:15). Given these options, one would hope the obvious choice to be life and prosperity. God desires the ultimate good for each one of his creatures and provides each of us with the tools we need. So great is God’s compassion for us that he favored us with his Word. He continues to remind us that He is the Potter, and we are the clay, the work of His hands. Because he made us, we belong to him. More than this, he is the Shepherd, and we are the sheep of his flock who promises to lead us to everlasting life if we are willing to listen to his voice and follow his lead. To find the fullness of life, we have only to love the Lord with our whole mind, our whole soul, and with our whole strength. Those who choose life and follow the Law of the Lord are like trees cultivated with care and kept fresh and verdant because they are planted near running water. Picture it. A tree that is abundantly watered and thriving. It could be you. It could be me. The choice is ours to make.

Lent is a time for believing, for welcoming God into our lives, and allowing him to “make his dwelling” among us (cf. Jn 14:23). We have only to recall these words taken from the gospel of John: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (Jn. 7:37). From the pierced side of our, Savior flows the stream of life-giving water. If we turn to him, we can drink deeply from the springs of salvation. Lent is the acceptable time for us to make the words of the psalmist our own. “As the deer thirsts for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, my God” (Ps. 42:1). And the key that opens the path to the stream of living water is the cross. Every day we can choose to hear God, or not. His voice is always there. Every day the Lord sets the options of life or death, prosperity, or doom before us. We are free to choose to listen to his voice. We are free to respond to his offer. The discipline of lent is about making choices. Hearing God’s Word, may we choose to follow his inspiration. As children of a loving Father, may we call upon him for his constant help. May all we do begin from Him and be brought to completion by him. In all that we do may God be glorified (CF. 1 Pet. 4:11).
Soul of Christ sanctify me.
Body of Christ save me.
Blood of Christ embolden me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Never permit me to be parted from you.