On some youth retreats, a football and hula hoop are used to demonstrate our journey of faith. The purpose of our life is similar to throwing a football through the hula hoop. If we face the hula hoop and give our best shot, we can make the throw and get the football through the hoop. But if we know that the hula hoop is one way and we turn the opposite direction so that we have turned our back on the target, and purposely throw the football in the opposite direction from the hula hoop, we will not make it. What can help us when we throw in the correct direction is learning from our misses and trying to make adjustments to our throw so we can be more on target. Also moving closer to our target helps.
Our life with God is similar. If we turn our back on God and purposely move away from God, we will not make it to God. When we face God, try our hardest, make corrections to our trajectory and move closer to God, it will be easier to be on target with God.
In the first reading we can see that the prophet Jeremiah like other prophets have tried to get the Israelites on the right track, but they have chosen to go another way. Instead of turning their faces to God, they have chosen to turn their backs to God and are heading away from God.
We also are challenged to make a decision. We need to be fully involved in deepening our relationship with God, or we do not want anything to do with God. Either we are working for the spread of the values of the Gospel in the world, or we are working against the Kingdom of God’s message. The choice of which way we are going is laid before us.
Being a disciple of Jesus is not a part-time vocation. It must be a full-time commitment on our part. We cannot be a quasi-Christian. I know, it is not easy. It is my struggle too. It is so easy to just get into a pattern of drifting along with the current, flowing down the river of worldly life, instead of putting in the effort to paddle against the current and to consciously head toward God.
Lent challenges us to look at our lives and see where we are going. What is our orientation? Which way are we headed? Are we with God? Are we willing to dig our paddle in and move in the right direction? Let us pray that we will be aware of the strength which God provides, and we will be able to answer: “I’m with You. Let’s go!”