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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
1st Reading (Sir 15:16-21): If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands man’s every deed. No one does he command to act unjustly, to none does he give license to sin.
Responsorial Psalm: 118
R/. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart.

You have commanded that your precepts be diligently kept. Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes!

Be good to your servant, that I may live and keep your words. Open my eyes, that I may consider the wonders of your law.

Instruct me, o Lord, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.
2nd Reading (1Cor 2:6-10): Brothers and sisters: We speak a wisdom to those who are mature, not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away. Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for, if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But as it is written: What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 11:25): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 5:17-37): Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’ But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife —unless the marriage is unlawful— causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets”

Fr. Givanildo dos SANTOS Ferreira (Brasilia, Brazil)

Today, Jesus tells us: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets” (Mt 5:17). What is the Law? What is ‘The Prophets’? By the Law and the Prophets, Jesus meant two different sets of books of the Old Testament. The Law refers to the works believed to have been written by Moses; the Prophets, as the name itself indicates, are the works of the Prophets and the Sapiential Books.

In Today's Gospel, Jesus refers to those who are considered the summary of the moral code of the Old Testament: The commandments of the law of God. According to Jesus, the Law isn't merely about external principles. It isn't an external imposition, on the contrary. Actually, God's Law corresponds to the ideal of perfection that is deeply rooted in the heart of every man. This is the reason why they who keep the commandments not only achieve the accomplishment of their human aspirations, but also the perfection of Christianity, or, in Jesus's words, achieves the perfection of the Kingdom of God. “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:19).

“But I say to you” (Mt 5:22). The observance of the Law isn't restricted to the letter, “for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life” (2Cor 3:6). This is the meaning in which Jesus employs His authority to interpret the Law according to its most authentic spirit. As Jesus interprets it, the Law is extended to its ultimate consequences: the respect for life is connected to the eradication of hate, vengeance and offense; the chastity of the body, to the purity of intentions; the perfection of matrimony depends on fidelity and indissolubility; the truth of the word given starts with the respect for pacts. By observing the law, Jesus “fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Second Vatican Council).

The example of Jesus invites us to that perfection of Christian life in which we practice with actions what we preach with words.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion. God can be appeased by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord.” (Saint Cyprian)

  • “To pray for a person with whom I am irritated is a beautiful step forward in love, and an act of evangelization.” (Francis)

  • “ ‘Owe no one anything, except to love one another’ (Rom 13:8). The communion of the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relationship (…)” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2845).