“If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God you too shall live”. This is how today’s first reading from Sirach begins. It is interesting to note that the book of Sirach, (also called Ecclesiasticus in some translations), was used as the very first Catechism of the Church. It was used to teach morals and values to those converting to the Faith. The advice in this book is incredible. I encourage you to read it. This passage in particular also tells us that God wants us all to live, but it is our choice. He sets before us life and death, good and evil, and He wants us to choose life, to choose good. However, God is not a holy linebacker who tackles us from behind holding us down until we follow Him. Nor is He some magic puppet master who pulls on the strings and we do whatever He wants. No, our blessed Lord gave us a free will and if we want to follow Christ then our wills are what we can give to Him. It seems like such a small thing, but we must turn our wills towards Him and then like the Prodigal Son, God will run to us, but we must first make the choice.
In our second reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has in store for those who love Him”. How cool is that! If we can give God the little pebble of our wills, then we will not be able to imagine what God will do for us. In our Gospel from Matthew, our Blessed Lord does not mince words. He challenges us to look at the root of our sinfulness and “pluck it out”. He does not want us to amputate our hands or feet or intentionally blind ourselves physically. Instead He wants us to root these things out of our minds and hearts. We do this by following His commandments, being bold in our Faith and doing what we know we ought to do, not what we want to do. So, this week, let us choose to follow God. Let us offer Him our own wills so that His will can be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, and finally let us take the sin in our lives out by the root and lay it before the cross of Christ. If we do these things we will be transformed into the Catholics we always knew we were called to be…Choose wisely…Choose life…Choose Jesus…May God richly bless you always