Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
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by Dr. Paul Wadell, Professor of Religious Studies - St. Norbert College
How do we find the path to life? How do we live in ways that bring us wholeness and peace? These are questions all of us wrestle with as we make our way through life. In the first reading for this Sunday from the prophet Ezechiel, people grumble that God’s ways are not fair. But a closer look at the text indicates that the ways of the Lord echo what we already know: the harvest of wickedness is not life but death. If I become an expert at evil, I am truly a fool because I will have become skilled at the very behavior that will result in my diminishment. Human beings are experts at self-sabotage, but if we are honest with ourselves we know what the prophet says is true. If we turn from evil and embrace what is “right and just,” we preserve our lives. And the reason is because goodness brings life! If we seek the good, we shall live. If we commit ourselves to pursuing justice and truthfulness and love, we flourish.
The same is true in our communal lives together. In the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Paul pleads with that fledgling Christian community to make his joy complete “by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” Paul instructs them on what makes life together possible. We flourish together in communities when we encourage and support one another, when we seek one another’s good, and when we agree on what matters most to us. Interestingly, this passage is the foundation for the Norbertines’ way of life. The Norbertines follow the Rule of St. Augustine. And Augustine centered is rule in the exhortation “to be of one heart and one mind” as we make our way together to God. That is a path to life we can trust, and one we are called today to embrace.