Breaking the Chains
Daily Gospel Reflection 1/12/2023
The Holy Spirit says: Oh, that today you would hear his voice, “Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works for forty years. (Heb 3:7-10)
We know the story of the Israelites in the desert and how they struggled with different kinds of sin. It was an arduous journey to the promised land, but many wanted to return to Egypt, where they could be slaves again. Slavery, for many of them, was comfortable and may have offered a temporary sense of stability. For the Israelites, anything seemed better than the challenges of the desert. They did not understand at that moment they must shed those things that truly did not serve their lives or bring them closer to God.
Then the LORD said to Moses: Go down at once because your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way I commanded them, making for themselves a molten calf and bowing down to it, sacrificing to it and crying out, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!" (Exodus 32:7-8)
This past Monday, some Catholic brothers and I started our yearly Exodus 90 journey. The ascetic disciplines quickly reminded me how daily distractions could sometimes pull us away from a God-centered life. Part of the purpose of the Exodus 90 program is to shed ourselves from some worldly pursuits that might have been dominating our lives. One of the members said, "they feel like the chains have been removed," and I most certainly agree. Maybe some of us have become slaves to our phones or overconsuming T.V. programs and food. Perhaps some form of addiction needs to be addressed, or simply becoming more present in our relationships at home and work. Whatever the distraction or sin, let's not forget that God needs to be at the center.
Understandably, transformation can be somewhat scary. It takes courage, humility, patience, and a deep faith in God. It takes admitting you are wrong sometimes, frequenting the sacrament of confession, and attending Mass on those days when you wish to stay in bed. It also takes honesty, looking in the mirror, and striving to improve. Remember, our goal is Heaven, not just for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters traveling with us.
Since we have just entered 2023, it may be a good time to ask yourself if earthly distractions or temporal things are holding you back from deeper spiritual meaning and purpose. Be strong on the Christian path, and trust in Christ that He will break any chains that no longer serve your life.
“I tell you that you have less to suffer in following the cross than in serving the world and its pleasures.” — St. John Vianney
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