We often refer to the Christian life as a journey, or a pilgrimage. On a journey we travel towards a destination, and we move forward in order to arrive there. But in the first reading the prophet Jeremiah talks about the people going backwards; they were walking away from their destination, heading back into the darkness of slavery and sin.
Let’s just think about this image for a moment. What is sin if not going backwards, returning to the urges and desires that cut us off from God and one another? And what’s the result of walking backwards? We move away from our destination and we lose sight of the heavenly life that is our inheritance in Christ. On the other hand, what is a life of faith if not one of constantly moving forward, with our eyes fixed on the goal? What is it if not taking the bold step of trusting that God will support us, guide us, and fulfil us far more than sin ever could?
When we face temptation, we should recall the image of moving forward. At the end of the day the choice is always ours, whether to take a step backwards, away from our goal, or to walk forward, out of the swirling drives and urges that lead to more and more sin.
And yet, we shouldn’t get too despondent. We must remember that the journey forward is not one we take alone. We walk, not only with each other, but with Our Lord and with all the saints who have gone before us. As we move forward towards Holy Week let’s examine our journey so far. Are there any obstacles we need to remove? Is there anything we can do to make our way forward smoother and quicker?