Grace to replace

    February 23, 2024

    Today’s gospel focuses on working with complete love and goodness in our hearts.

    As a part of his famous sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges us to go beyond merely fulfilling the letter of the law, and instead fulfill the spirit of the law with our hearts. Doing what is right and serving those in need are two major reasons we choose to work at Catholic Charities. We feel the calling to follow the commandments, and strive to do so with our whole hearts.

    Yet we can find ourselves to be like the Pharisees — just checking a box, focusing on getting things done, moving on to the next person. This is a challenge we face every day when we’re tired and struggling to connect with the homeless woman who struggles to find housing, the refugee who struggles to understand English, or the young child who constantly acts out due to unaddressed trauma. While we continue the work, we can become frustrated, angry, and burned out.

    Because we’re human, we should not be surprised when we are tempted in this way. In times like these, we must lean on our Father asking for his grace to replace our pride with humility, and our anger with peace. Jesus calls us to be truly reconciled with God and those around us. We must pray to him that we become more genuinely loving to those we are privileged to serve in our work.

    Releasing the anger and frustration which can enter our work while permitting goodness to flow in our hearts will allow us to truly be the face of Christ to others and to see Christ in them.

    Brian Smith is the Director of Parish Engagement for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and proudly serves on the Parish Social Ministry Leadership Team for Catholic Charities USA.

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