Psalter: Week 2
Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
1st Reading: Sir 15:15–20
If you wish, you can keep the commandments and it is in your power to remain faithful.
He has set ?re and water before you; you stretch out your hand to whichever you prefer.
Life and death are set before man: which ever a man prefers will be given him.
How magni?cent is the wisdom of the Lord! He is powerful and all-seeing.
His eyes are on those who fear him. He knows all the works of man. He has commanded no one to be godless and has given no one permission to sin.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 2:6–10
In fact, we do speak of wisdom to the mature in faith, although it is not a wisdom of this world or of its rulers, who are doomed to perish. We teach the mystery, and secret plan, of divine wisdom, which God destined from the beginning, to bring us to glory.
No ruler of this world ever knew this; otherwise, they would not have cruci?ed the Lord of glory. But as Scripture says: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it dawned on the mind, what God has prepared for those who love him. God has revealed it to us, through his Spirit, because the Spirit probes everything, even the depth of God.
Gospel: Mt 5:17–37 (or Mt 5:20–22a, 27–28, 33–34a, 37)
Do not think that I have come to annul the law and the prophets. I have not come to annul them, but to fulfill them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the small¬est letter or dot in the law will change, until all is fulfilled.
So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, if your sense of right and wrong is not keener than that of the Lawyers and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
You have heard, that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit murder; anyone who murders will have to face trial. But now, I tell you: whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister is liable, to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or sister “Fool!” is liable, of being thrown into the ?re of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there, in front of the altar; go at once, and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.
Don’t forget this: be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There, you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.
You have heard that it was said: Do not commit adultery. But I tell you this: anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent, has already committed ¬adultery with her in his heart.
So, if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell.
It was also said: Anyone who divorces his wife, must give her a writ¬ten notice of divorce. But what I tell you is this: if a man divorces his wife, except in the case of unlawful union, he causes her to commit adultery.
You have also heard that people were told in the past: Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this: do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are God’s throne; nor by the earth, because it is his foot stool; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great king. Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything else you say comes from the evil one.
Reading: Jesus reminded His disciples that He did not come to annul the Law and the Prophets but to fulfil them to the fullest through a proper and sound appreciation of their precepts. It is an evaluation that is both a source of freedom and joy if practiced in one’s daily life. He cited some of these precepts and how they are to be interpreted so as to give flesh and bone to His teaching.
Reflection: Jesus may look very unconventional, unlike the teachers of that time. But looks are deceiving for He does not come to bring a new teaching and do away with the old. He came to fulfill them to the fullest. Thus he reminded His hearers that the Laws and the Prophets ought to be followed. The moral and ethical life must have a basis. It is not dependent on what feels good lest we fall into thinking that we are the measure of what is good and true and beautiful. It is always good to have a common reference point to evaluate our actions. Jesus is not someone who detests the old ways. He only presents them in a new way that makes them always relevant: the archaic that never goes out of style.
Response: Stop and ponder the “laws” for good living that we intentionally break because we think they are too insignificant to be bothered with: the white lies we make, the promises we do not keep and the countless other little law-breaking things we make. Today is a good day to make a resolution to be faithful in anything no matter how small and insignificant this may be.
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