“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.”
The Lord gives us His commandments not to cramp our style or to suck all the fun out of life, but because He knows us. He really knows us – to the core of our being. He knows what is best for us – eternally! He has shown us the blueprint to peace in this life and everlasting joy in the next. As Sirach says here, we can either trust that God really does know what is best for us and follow Him with abandon, or we can stretch forth our hands and choose the fire that scorches us. Because God loves us so much, He gives us the free will to choose the “fire or the water.” He will never force His Will upon us, as that is control, not love.
“Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart.”
In the gospel, Jesus truly challenges us. He makes it clear that those who follow Him are held to a higher standard than God’s people were in Old Testament times. The life of a disciple – follower of Christ – is surely not an easy one – It’s not for whimps to be sure! We are told to be pure in our actions. but also in our thoughts. That’s a toughie – especially in this day and age when we are fed some much smut through our senses. The way to become more pure in thought is to limit the smut coming in, and to increase the amount of time we spend each day in the presence of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit can also help us to do better in the realm of pure thoughts. Let’s not forget that we have received the Holy Spirit in His fullness at confirmation, and that God’s Spirit dwells within us. We should call upon Him frequently to help us avoid sin both in deed and in thought.