“The choice is between God and other gods who do not have the power to give us anything other than trivial, pithy little things that pass,” the Pope told Mass attendees Feb. 19.
He recognized that “it is not easy” to make the right choice, and encouraged those present to stop and ask themselves, “What is my lifestyle like? Which path am I on?”
Francis launched his reflection by referencing God’s words to Moses in the first reading, taken from Deuteronomy, in which God says, “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. Obey the commandments of the Lord, Your God, which I enjoin on you today.”
It is the same choice that each person is faced with on a daily basis, he said, noting that it is often easier to follow false gods.
“We always have this habit of following the herd, like everyone else. Everyone and no one,” he said. However in today’s liturgy, the Church gives us the good advice to “stop and choose!”
He encouraged attendees to ask themselves whether or not they are following the Lord or if they are on another path. Alongside this question, he said, are deeper ones surrounding our relationship with God and our families, including our parents, siblings, children and spouses.
Pope Francis then turned to Luke’s Gospel, in which Jesus tells his disciples that there is no profit in gaining the world, but losing one’s soul at the same time.
“The search for personal success, for possessions, without a thought for the Lord, for one’s family is always the wrong path to choose,” he observed, and said that the two questions which constantly need to be asked regard the status of our relationship with God and with our family.
A person can work hard to gain everything and yet still fail, Francis said, explaining that even if monuments of the person are built and their portrait painted, they are “a failure” because they “did not choose well between life and death.”
The Pope also questioned those present as to what pace they live their lives at, and whether or not they allow time to reflect on the things they do.
A “little bit of courage” is needed every time we make decisions, he said, and pointed to Psalm 1’s exhortation to put our hope in the Lord as a piece of a good advice on the matter.
“When the Lord gives us this advice – ‘Stop! Choose today, choose’ – he doesn’t abandon us. He is with us and wants to help us. But we have to trust Him; we have to have faith in Him,” Francis said.
He concluded his homily by telling those present to stop and think about the decisions they make, and to remember that the Lord is always there beside us, offering his help.