We Have a Choice to Make

Homily for Monday of the 1st Week of Lent

In this reading that we have just heard from the Book of Leviticus, Moses is instructing the people of Israel on how they are called to live. It’s sort of an expansion of the Ten Commandments. Think about the teachings of the Church today and how they flow from the words of Jesus together with the traditions that have been handed down from our fathers in the faith. That is something that has been led by the Holy Spirit. This is kind of the same thing that is happening here. The Book of Leviticus is traditionally known as the book of the moral and ritual laws of the Jewish faith. It’s meant to guide the people in the practice of their faith.

Those things didn’t go away with Jesus. And we’re still, as Christians, called to do our best to strive to live out those ideals in our lives today. As we know, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. So those instructions are also important for us to follow. First and foremost, we are called to treat each other as brothers and sisters. If we are trying to incorporate those commandments and those instructions into our lives, then we are truly striving for holiness, we are truly striving for righteousness.

Righteousness springs from a place of love – love of God and love of neighbor. As Christians, we identify ourselves as sons and daughters of God. And when we live out of that identity, we are striving to love God with our whole heart. When we participate in the sacraments and as we bring God’s love to others, we open our hearts to receive His grace and we allow that grace “to overflow into our love of others through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.” If we don’t, the consequences can be eternal.

This Lent, we have a choice to make. Are we going to strive to be as holy and as righteous as the Lord has called us to be? Are we going to follow His commandments and teachings? Or are we going to be stuck in our own ways? If we don’t allow Him to transform our hearts, we could end up being sent off into eternal punishment, hearing the words: “depart from me, you accursed.” But if we do allow Him to change our hearts, then the reward will be much greater in the end. Which path will you choose?

Photo: Eucharistic Adoration, David Eucaristía. Pexels. Used under Creative Commons license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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