The Last First

“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” – Alfred A. Montapert, author of The Supreme Philosophy of Man:The Laws of Life

Today is the anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that effectively made abortion on demand legal in the United States. And the political and moral discussions continue, and will continue forever. All sides in this debate have been making the same arguments since humans philosophized about the meaning of life. There truly is nothing new under the sun when it comes to this discussion.

But we live in a society where technology, affluence, and secularism collide all together to produce a collective mindset that insists on the notion of “individual autonomy.” It has become axiomatic that, since I am a citizen, I should be “free” to do what I want with my own body. The constant drumbeat of personal “freedom” drilled into us is both a strength of our modern society and it’s greatest weakness.

And that is because none of us will ever escape, ultimately, the consequences of our choices. Be Pro-Choice all you want, but then have the courage to bear the responsibility for those “choices.” The challenge becomes even greater as successive generations have to live with the reverberating consequences of the choices our society makes today. What was meant to grant freedom becomes a perpetual and societal prison of consequences borne by our future societies. And that, my dearest, is an aspect of our choices we ignore at our own peril.

In today’s Gospel Lesson, our Lord Jesus offers us some hard sayings. In Matthew 10:32-33; 37-38; 19:27-30 the Lord (may I offer a short editorial comment: When I write “Lord” in front of Jesus’ name I purposefully mean to convey the truth that Jesus Christ is God in the Flesh. I believe that God became incarnate, took on flesh, in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God. Thank you for your attention) teaches His disciples that the foundation of wise and ultimately eternal choices is their making their relationship with Jesus Christ the first priority of their lives. He even declares that “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37-38) He finishes the lesson by saying “But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”

The primary principle here in this teaching is hard, but absolutely necessary if I am going to have a foundation in my heart and mind for the life choices I will make every day. If my foundational attitude about my life is self centered then all my choices will revolve around my own comfort and my own desires. If you can’t see that that kind of life will lead you to destruction, you haven’t been paying attention!

No, the Lord here doesn’t suggest I shouldn’t love my parents or my children. On the contrary, the Lord insists that the only way to properly love your parents and children is to love Him more! It’s only that courageous lifestyle that fress a person to truly and unselfishly love another!

But then the Lord adds an ominous warning about the “first” and “last.” Pay attention here. He insists that there will come a day when those who made self centered choices will find themselves having “burned up” all their privilege. And those who invested in wise lifestyles, forward-thinking choices, and loving others more than themselves will find themselves recognized for their loving choices. In other words, there will come a day when all the consequences of our choices will come to full flower. Lord, have mercy.

Today, your choices matter. They reveal who you really are. But you shouldn’t bear this heavy news will hopelessness. The grace of God stands ready to forgive, heal, show mercy, and restore you. But for that to happen, you have to make a choice today – will you insist on being first now only to be last later, or do you have the courage to journey to a place where your desires are transformed by love?

First or Last – Choose.

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