Oh that you had Listened to God’s Commandments

“O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18)

Imagine this scenario: you are travelling abroad, you get to a bustling international airport. You have only a few minutes to catch a connecting flight. You know that missing this connecting flight will cost you both time and a lot of money. At this point, you realize you will have to run and not mind the weight of your carry-on luggage; and you realize the value of signs, instructions and commands. Even if it is a small child saying: “Go this way” or “No, follow here” you don’t even argue, you simply say “Thank you” and obey.

Whenever we find ourselves having serious difficulties with following instructions, it is always because we do not appreciate the value of what we stand to gain or benefit from such instructions. Our first reading this morning contains a cry from God: “Oh that you had listened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river…”

Do you consider God’s commandments as too difficult? It simply means you do not believe that these commandments are of any benefit to you. The truth is that everything we desire in life, be it peace, prosperity, fame and so on can only come to us if we keep God’s commandments. We cannot live in disobedience to God and still expect the best things in life. By trying to eat our cake and have it, we behave like the children Jesus was talking about in today’s Gospel passage.

John the Baptist came, neither eating nor drinking and people said he was not normal. Jesus freely ate and drank even in public, but the people called him a friend of sinners. As the saying goes: “you will always have an excuse for not doing what you don’t want to do.” If you believe that keeping God’s commandments (living a saintly life) is too hard, then know that you are cheating yourself.

God desires our happiness even more than we do. Christmas is a clear proof that God would stop at nothing to ensure our happiness. Nevertheless, this happiness will remain a mirage if we turn a deaf ear to His commands. The wages of sin is death.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my trust in keeping your commandments. Amen.

Bible Study: Isaiah 48:17-19, Psalm 1:1-6 and Matthew 11:16-19).

Fr. Abu

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