Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (11: 16-19) in which Jesus asked the crowds ‘What description can I find for this generation?’ and concludes saying ‘Wisdom has been proved right by her actions’.Fr Paul continues to read from the ‘Heart of the Disciple’ resource for our daily reflections which asks us to consider the following: Athletes need to have good form to succeed. Runners must run right, throwers throw right, and weightlifters must lift right, and so on. The reason is that bad form causes injury. Good form prevents injury and allows sustainable athletic performance. It gives the athlete the freedom to do amazing things because it builds on what’s natural and good for the body. It’s good to have rules of form to prevent injury, because the body is constructed in such a way that the elbow cannot bend backwards, nor the neck turn completely around, nor the lungs be filled with water. An athlete who has good form grows strong, healthy and free to perform impressive physical acts, but this is possible only if we comply with the construction of our bodies. Rebelling against the way our bodies are made is what causes injury. Good form does not constrict athletes but enables them. In that same way the commandments of God are not made to constrict us, but to enable us. The commandments are not arbitrary rules given by a taskmaster who demands obedience. God does not benefit from our obeying him. We do. God’s commandments are for our own good. They are the ‘rules of form’ for our souls and bodies. They liberate us, rather than limit us. In as much as we do not live by them, we experience injury, but in as much as we abide by them, we grow stronger and freer. God’s teaching enables us to grow strong and it prevents the injury that leads to pain and death. Today’s readings show us that God desires for us to ‘pay attention to his commandments’ so that our prosperity can be abundant. Today let us give deeper thought to the ways in which the teachings of our faith are perceived, and let’s rejoice that God has shown us how to thrive and be free. For our reflection and discussion, in what ways do I feel God calling me to change my behaviour in order to live more in accord with his teaching? And today we pray: Loving and merciful God, give me the desire to turn to you in trust, and never to lose heart as I seek to live my life more and more deeply in you. We ask this the Christ our Lord. Amen.
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