The Choice is Ours

Sunday, February 5, 2023

READINGS: SIR 15:15-20; PS 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34; 1 COR 2:6-10; MT 5:17-37

Today’s readings challenge us to reflect on the true state of our heart as it relates to appreciation and gratitude. We have kicked off the 2023 Pastoral Services Appeal.  We may think of PSA as something we take care of once a year, simply a matter of ticking off boxes on a pledge form — or do we choose to embrace charitable giving as a spirituality and way of life that allows us to grow in conformity to Christ every day?

Our first reading, from the book of Sirach, teaches that our good God has given us freedom to make this choice — “Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.”

The concept of generosity in giving helps us to live out the fundamental choice to put God first. The exercise of our Catholic faith was not meant to be a mere external exercise that we participate in on an occasional basis. It is meant to be embraced as a way of life, a way that involves a continuous conversion of our hearts.

In our Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus illustrates the difference between an external observance of the law and a true conversion of heart, saying, “You have heard that it was said… you shall not kill… But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Our Lord is asking us not only for exterior acts, but for a true change of heart. That means seeing everything as a gift from God, used for His glory, to build up and strengthen the Church, and improve the quality of people’s lives.

In the coming weeks, we will have an opportunity to make a PSA Pledge in support of the Catholic services and ministries funded by PSA throughout Orange County. Let us examine the state of our hearts to ask ourselves if we have chosen to allow our faith in God and the way we live that out in generosity and charity to take root and become a way of life for us. Only then will we experience its true depth and heart-changing possibilities. The choice is ours.