Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34 (R.v.1b); 1 Cor 2:6-10; Matt 5:17-37


In Deut 30:15-18, Moses presented to the people of Israel, the dual way, one which leads to life and prosperity and the other which leads to death and calamity. The project of follwing any of the ways depends on individual choices and the consequences must equally be borne on individual bases (also see Psalm 1:1-6; Jer 21:8; Rom 6:21-23).

That is the point that Ben Sirach, the author of the Book of Sirach tries to make in the First Reading of today. The Reading comes from the authors long discourse on sin, sorrow and retribution (cf. Sir 15:11 18:13). That is where we see the connection it has with the Gospel.

In the Gospel, Jesus, continuing his formation lectures to his disciples on moral behaviour, emphasizes the importance of deeper appreciation of the Law instead of mere observance of the Law. Notice what he said, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20).

The scribes were those who had the responsibility of copying out the Laws of Moses for the people as there were no industrial prints then as we have now. So with time, many of them could recite the Laws off by heart. But it ends at that. They do not make equal effort to keep the Laws.

The Pharisees, on their part, were interested in making sure that people observe the letters of the Law. They even make good effort to show off their adherence to the Law so that they might win public acclamation but they turn devilish once nobody is watching them. That was the case with the two elders from whose devilish hands Daniel saved the pious woman, Susana (cf. Dan 13).

So Jesus is reminding us today that what goes on in the spirit is more important than what goes on outside of the spirit. We may try to deceive people by our pretence to live holy lives but we must never forget, as St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading, that the Spirit searches everything (1Cor 2:10).

Nonetheless, St. Paul equally encourages us to shun the wisdom of the present age and embrace the Wisdom of God. The Wisdom of God surpasses all human laws. It is this Wisdom that can guarantee eternal life in the Kingdom of heaven for us. That is why the Psalmist said today, Blessed are those who walk in the Law of the Lord (Psalm 119:1).

Let us today choose the way that leads to life so that we might have life in abundance. Let us always ask God to guide us in making that required choice since left on our own, we can really do nothing.

Lord Jesus, I love you. I sincerely want to be yours, and from the depth of my heart, I repent of my sins. Do not allow me to separate myself from you again. Make me to love you at all times. Do with me whatever you will. Amen.

Have a blessed and faithful Sunday. Peace be with you.

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