Sir. 15:15-20; 1 Cor. 2:6-10; Mt. 5:17-37.
Two Sundays ago on the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, our Lord gave us the Beatitudes which paint the ideal perfection of Christian life. He calls blessed the poor in spirit, the meek, one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness; blessed are the clean of heart, the merciful and peace makers; blessed too are those who mourn, who bear insults and who suffer persecution. In these qualities we see the holiness of those who deny the self, take up one the cross and follow Christ. Then last Sunday the Lord added that we are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As Christians we are to give flavor to life, by the love and the joy that we project. “See, how good and pleasant it is when brothers live as one” (Ps 133:1). By our good example of love and holiness, we give light to others on how to follow Christ. By acting out and living the Christian virtues we light the path of others and propagate the kingdom of God.
On this 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells us that he has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He tells us that our holiness must go beyond that of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes and the Pharisees insisted on the literal fulfillment of the Law, not the spirit of the Law. They made many minute observances to the point that they added more precepts to be observed and made it burdensome to common people to follow. Jesus wanted the basic, that the whole Law was founded on love of God and love of neighbor. Take the command “You shall not kill;” to kill it all begins with anger, which is a rush of feelings because one is insulted, or put to shame or one’s name is tarnished. Jesus invites us to be sensitive to the feelings of our neighbor, and be careful with our speech and action. And if we have offended Jesus tells us to know how to beg pardon and reconcile. Jesus is firm in this regard because he commands us to postpone the offering of sacrifice and do the reconciliation first; reconcile first with fellow man before seeking reconciliation with God. This is when I am the one who has offended my brother. What if I am the one offended and I remember it there before the altar. I do not go to ask for forgiveness; rather I, right there before the altar lovingly speak to him in my heart: “I forgive you.” Then God will forgive me as I have forgiven. The command “You shall not commit adultery” brings us to the control of lust. The sexual appetite was given by God to man and woman for the propagation of the species but in the proper way according to God’s plan – through the family. That is why God blesses the union of man and woman in marriage. Faithfulness in marriage and love between parents and children bring happiness to everyone in the family and assures the education of the children for the next generation. Divorce, adultery, promiscuity, same sex marriage destroy family life and the very life and happiness of man and woman, and the children for the next generation. The sanity of the next generation is at risk, as has been seen in children of broken families. The command “You shall not bear false witness” brings us to truthfulness. God is truth and satan is falsehood, the father of lies. If we are to be children of our Father in heaven, we must be in the side of truth. Truthfulness should be second nature to us, not deceit or falsehood. Foul speech must be far from our lips, false accusation and any form of untruthfulness. From our lips should come out love and whatever builds up the other person, not what ruins. Love of neighbor because of love for God must be in our speech.
If we love God and neighbor we will not give way to anger that leads to murder; we shall love our spouse and children, and avoid adultery; we shall be truthful and avoid false accusation and deceit. “Love one another as I have loved you” is the command of Jesus.