Friday of the First Week of Lent
You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!"
Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
There was a children's game that we played called Chutes and Ladders. In that game you moved spaces forward, according to the roll of a dice, in order to get to the finish first. If you landed on a ladder then you would go up to another level and closer to the finish but if you landed on a chute you would slide down and be further away from the finish. I enjoyed many hours of fun playing that game with companions (it was such a simpler time then).
I thought about that game as I read today's 1st reading taken from Ezekiel. As we go on our life's journey there are pitfalls: times when we give in to temptations and our baser desires. That's called sin and it is where we land on a chute and slide down but there is always the opportunity to land on a ladder and go up again as we continue. That is called repentance and grace.
But I have good news for you that I heard from a well connected friend, St. Paul. He told me that with the Lord, there are more ladders than chutes. He said the Rom 5:20 "where sin is grace abounds even more". It seems our God wants everybody to win!
A just God will condemn the sinner who dies in his iniquity or who turns from virtue to iniquity but a merciful God will raise the one who walks in virtue or turns away from iniquity. The last verse in that chapter in Ezekiel is this:
"32 For I find no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies—oracle of the Lord GOD. Turn back and live!"
It's what we choose to do that determines the consequence. Chute or ladder?
Repentance and reconciliation are the major themes of today's readings. Why not take the opportunity to make things right with God again. Take advantage of the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation, pray for the grace of metanoia and make a U-turn back to God.
Hit a ladder this Lent and rise.
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.