The first reading today advises us, “Rely not on your own strength.” There is kindred advise in the Gospel where Jesus tells us we’d be better off without a hand or an eye, if those members are leading us into destruction.
The kindred element in both pieces of advice is that they tell us we are not in charge. Our lives are God’s game. He makes the rules that we must abide by if we don’t want the ref to yank us out of the game.
There are billions of cases where people brought on disaster by making up their own rules for the game of life. Here are two that come to my mind now.
One sad example of someone who tried making up her own rules was mother Eve.
The serpent told her that if she ate the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil she would be like a god herself. She would then be capable of making up her own rules about what is good and what is evil. What happened was that she found herself embarrassingly naked.
The other example that occurs to me, is one of the figures in Michelangelo’s painting of the Last Judgment over the altar in the Sistine Chapel. There is a slightly over weight young man there. A joyous green demon has his arms wrapped around the fellow’s thighs as he hauls him down to hell. The shock in the young man’s expression his complete. He had thought he was doing very well for himself.