In the 1st Reading we heard about Ahab, the king of the Israelites. Ahab was called, as king, to be an example of the ways of God. But Ahab’s position got the better of him. He came to view his role as one of power. He believed he should get whatever he wanted. Naboth had property next to the king’s lands. Ahab wanted Naboth’s property to turn it into a garden. Naboth refused to sell his home or land, no matter what Ahab offered. King Ahab was furious about the failed attempt to get what he wanted. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, decided to take matters into her own hands and concocted a plan to get rid of Naboth. Jezebel succeeded and with Naboth out of the picture, Ahab took control of the property he wanted.
Of course God was not pleased with Ahab. Ahab was already on rocky ground in his relationship with God for several reasons, including worshipping pagan gods. This however, seemed to be the last straw and God stepped into the picture. Through the prophet, God told Ahab that horrible things would be unleashed because of his greed, selfishness, and the murder of Naboth. When Ahab heard about it from the prophet, he actually repented. Ahab put on sackcloth and humbled himself before God. God noticed Ahab’s contrition and spoke to the prophet again telling him that the horrors would not be unleashed in Ahab’s time, but in the life of Ahab’s son. This was what got my attention and caused me to ponder its message for us today.
I believe that is what we must always be mindful of the impact of what we do today on the generations to come. God has called us to a way of life that is not merely beneficial for our own lifetime, but can be a blessing for those in future times. Yet, it would seem that we must acknowledge that when we do not live according to God’s ways, we can be a curse for the generations to come. Pollution is certainly one thing that supports this. Failing to have a deep respect for God’s creation has unleashed many problems that will last for generations. Unjust wars throughout history had lasting consequences, even when all those who participated were no longer in this world. Even when the last perpetrator of sexual abuse of children and those who ignored what was taking place are dead, the sexual abuse crisis that took place in the church will plague people for a very long time. Greed, selfishness, deceit, manipulation, murder, lies, quest for power, war and all the other evils that are caused by human sinfulness unleash consequences just not for today, but for many tomorrows that will follow. This is what God seeks to protect us from. This is why God has given us a way of life that, when followed, will be a blessing not just for us today, but for those who will come after us. What will our actions today create for tomorrow? What will the choices we make today hold for the future? Blessing or curse? Ugliness or beauty? Happiness or grief? It does all matter. The ages are connected in one way or another. What we do TODAY matters.
I find myself pondering this in relationship to what is so present in the news at the present time. I wonder what will be unleashed on future generations when children are taken away from their parents at the border today. Yes, it is a hot button topic. The whole issue is complex and difficult. (the whole issue of immigration is not the topic here.) Yet, taking children away from parents seems wrong. It seems that children are being made into pawns for a political fight. No matter what side of the issue one is on, it seems wrong to use children, involve children or retaliate against children. What will be unleashed in the future because of these actions? What kind of hatred will grow in the hearts of some of the children who are going to be traumatized by the experience? Are we growing the terrorists of the future because of failing to take care of them in the present? What will the memories of those who have lived through it become in the tomorrows that lie ahead? Are we going to unleash radical consequences on innocent people in some unknown tomorrow? There is no way that this is in accord with the way of life that God has given to us to follow. There is no Scripture passage that can truthfully and honestly be used to support a decision to put children through this. The decision to act in a way that is defiant to God’s law will have an impact on some tomorrow. This will not be at God’s choosing, but because of the choice to ignore the way God has provided.
Of course, this does not just apply to this one issue. It is something that we should learn to think about in every decision we make and every action we take. Whether it is a choice to speed while driving, steal, lie, cheat, be selfish, harm another person’s reputation, be unfaithful, make something else more important than God or anything else that is contradictory to the way of life that God calls us to live, some tomorrow will reveal the consequences.
When we choose God’s way, open ourselves to trust that God knows more, learn what God calls us to do and pray for the guidance we need from God, the tomorrows will reveal blessings for us and for those to come.
Mahatma Gandhi must have understood this when he said, “The future depends on what you do today.”
What do you want tomorrow to hold?
(comments are welcome as long as they are civil and about the topic. All other comments will be deleted)