7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 23rd Feb 2020

Theme: WE HAVE TO LOVE BEYOND THE LAW

  • Leviticus 19:1-2. 17-18;
  • Psalm 102:1-4. 8. 10. 12-13. R/ v. 8;
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
  • Matthew 5:38-48

Today is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that love is the spirit of the law and love is the fulfillment of the law! That is why we have to love beyond the law! Indeed the gospel today tells us to love beyond the law! Thus we read in the gospel today:

(i) “If anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well. …. (ii) Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

(iii) Love your enemies (do good to those who hate you; NJB) and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. …. (iv) You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:39. 42. 44-45. 48; SM)

That is, you must love just as your heavenly Father loves! (NJB; Lk 6:36)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to be holy just as the Lord our God is holy! That is, we must not hate our brother, we must not take revenge on our brother, we must not hold a grudge against our brother; instead, we must love our brother as we love ourselves! (HCSB) Thus we read in the first reading:

“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.

You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. …. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lv 19:2. 17a. 18a; SM)

But brotherly love also means brotherly/fraternal correction! (NJBC) Thus we read in the first reading:

“You must openly tell him, your neighbor, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself.” (Lv 19: 17b; SM)  

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the gospel and the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the Lord is compassion and love! Thus we responded four times:

“The Lord is compassion and love.” (Ps 102:8; SM)

And thus the third and fourth stanzas of the psalm from which the response is taken and which praise and thank God for his compassion and love:

“The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.

As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.” (Ps 102:8. 10. 12-23; SM) 

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to be united in Christ and in God! The Corinthians were divided, with some belonging to Paul, some to Peter and some to Apollos. (1 Co 1:12)

Saint Paul tells them that Paul, Peter and Apollos belong to them instead. Paul, Peter and Apollos are their servants to serve them; in fact, the whole of creation is their servant to serve them, so that they belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God! (NJB) They are therefore to be united in Christ and in God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.” (1 Co 3:21-23; SM)

The readings today tell us about love and unity! These are the two most important themes of the Church. The Church is a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the world!

That is why in the renewal of our Church we build small Christian communities of love and unity, like the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Prayer-Groups, the Bible-Sharing Groups, and the Support-Groups, like the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), the NA (Narcotics Anonymous), the GA (Gamblers Anonymous), OA (Over-Eaters Anonymous), SA (Sex Addicts Anonymous), EA (Emotions Anonymous), etc., where we share and pray personally and spiritually on the Bible, the Sunday Mass readings, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and our personal and spiritual experiences, etc.! God bless you!    Amen!

 

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 16th Feb 2020

Theme: THE LAW IS LOVE, LIFE AND HAPPINESS!

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 15:15-20;
  • Psalm 118:1-2. 4-5. 17-18. 33-34. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
  • Matthew 5:17-22. 27-28. 33-34. 37. (Shorter Form)

Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Law is love, life and happiness! God is love, life and happiness. God gives us the law to give us his love, life and happiness! In heaven there is only love, life and happiness! Love, life and happiness are the three most important things and they are eternal!

The gospel today tells us that the Law is love, that is, the spirit of the law is love, and the fulfillment of the law is love. That is why we have to go beyond the law to love! (CSB; NJB)

That is why the gospel today tells us that it is not enough not to kill, but we must also not get angry with our brother! We must love our brother! The gospel also tells us that it is not enough not to commit adultery, but we must also not look at a woman lustfully! We must look at a woman lovingly! Finally, the gospel tells us that it is not enough not to take false oaths, but we must not swear at all! (CSB) We must just tell the truth! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.” (Mt 5:21-22; SM)

“You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28; SM)

“Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfill your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all.” (Mt 5:33-35; SM) 

Again, the spirit of the Law is love and the fulfillment of the Law is love! Love is the only law and the only law is love! Love is the greatest commandment of the Law! (Mt 22:34-40) Jesus fulfilled the Law in love and through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he fulfilled the law in us! Let us then fulfill the law in love by loving God and by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves! (Mt 22:34-40)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the law is life! The first reading tells us that we can choose between keeping the law and not keeping the law. If we choose to keep the law, we choose life (water), but if we choose not to keep the law, we choose destruction (fire) and death! Thus we read in the first reading:

“If you wish, you can keep the commandments, to behave faithfully is within your power. He has set fire and water before you; put out your hand to whichever you prefer. Man has life and death before him; whichever a man likes better will be given him.” (Si 15:15-17; SM)         

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the law is happiness! Thus we responded four times:

“They are happy who follow God’s law!” (Ps 118:1; SM)

And thus the first stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“They are happy whose life is blameless, who follow God’s law! They are happy those who do his will, seeking him with all their hearts.” (Ps 118:1-2; SM)

The opposite is also true, that is, they are unhappy who do not follow God’s law! If we are unhappy, we are not following God’s law!

The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. The second reading of last Sunday (1 Co 2:1-5) tells us not to preach human wisdom, but to preach the crucified Christ! Human wisdom cannot save us, only the crucified Christ can save us!

The second reading this Sunday tells us not to preach human wisdom, but to preach the wisdom of God! The wisdom of God is “God’s plan for our salvation”! (CSB) Again, human wisdom cannot save us, only the wisdom of God can save us!

God bless you!    Amen!

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) -9th Feb 2020

Theme: WE CHRISTIANS ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

  • Isaiah 58:7-10
  • Psalm 111:4-9
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
  • Matthew 5:13-16 

The Church has chosen the readings of today to tell us that we are the light of the world! The gospel tells us that we are the light of the world and that like the light we are to shine so that others seeing our good works will give praise to God our Father.

This short sentence from the gospel also tells us that we are not to be proud and arrogant and take credit for what we have done, but credit and praise are to go to God the Father!

In the first place we are all sinners before God, incapable of doing good works! But God our Father is merciful! He has sent us his Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can do good works!

The Christian is not a social worker! He does not only do good works, but he does God’s work!  His works are not only good for society, but his works are salvific and redemptive!

The good works of the Christian do not come from himself, but they come from God! The good works of the Christian is filled with God’s love and mercy and salvation!

The Christian may fail and feel frustrated and disappointed and may even suffer and die, but like Jesus Christ he will rise again from the dead and pour out his Spirit for the salvation of the world!

The gospel tells us that we are the light of the world, but the gospel does not tell us how we are to be the light of the world. The Church has therefore chosen the first reading from the prophet Isaiah to tell us how we are to be the light of the world!

The first reading taken from the prophet Isaiah was addressing a situation in Israel in about the year 500 B.C. when the Jews have just returned from their exile in Babylon. There were social injustices where the rich and powerful exploited the poor and the weak, etc.. The poor and the weak had no power, no food, no shelter, no clothing, etc..

The prophet Isaiah tells them to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and clothe the naked. These are the three basic necessities of a human being: food, housing and clothing. By feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and clothing the naked they will become the light of the world! They will shine like the sun at dawn!

As Christians we often do charitable works, but sometimes we forget that social justice is equally important if not more important. In charity we give to others what belongs to us, but in justice we give to others what belongs to them by right, e.g. a just and fair wage, holidays, health benefits, working hours that are not too long, sick leaves, bonuses, etc..

That is why Isaiah ends this first reading by telling the Jews to take away the yoke of oppression from their fellow Jews and no clenched fist, i.e. no oppression. Isaiah also tells them to give their bread to the hungry and to free the oppressed! Isaiah tells them that in this way they will become light shining in the darkness! They will shine like the noonday sun!

The Responsorial Psalm also tells us how we can be light of the world! The Responsorial Psalm tells us to be generous, merciful and just; to take pity and lend to those in need and to practice justice. In these ways we can become light for the world!

But more than that the Responsorial Psalm tells us that we can also be light to the world not only by our good works, but also by our faith! In the second stanza, the Responsorial Psalm tells us that the just man will never waver! He will never be shaken! He has no fear of evil news; with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord!

The Responsorial Psalm ends by telling us that the just man has no fear. With open hands he gives to the poor. He is just and glorious!

The second reading taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians does not strictly follow the theme of the other readings, but it has something very important to tell us! As I have mentioned at the very beginning, our good works are not from us! They are from God! They are not merely good works, but they are God’s works!

St. Paul tells us in this second reading that he proclaimed the good news not on his own, nor on the power of man, but he proclaimed the good news relying on the power of God! He preached Jesus Christ crucified, a dead man, but it is the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God!

And St. Paul tells us that he did that so that our faith will not depend on the power of men, but on the power of God!

Our good works too have to depend not on the power of men, but on the power of God!

That is why we have to pray, we have to have faith, and that is why today we celebrate this Eucharist! Today we come here in our human weaknesses like St. Paul and we celebrate the crucified Christ, a dead man, but it is the power of God! It is the power of the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit will make us shine, so that seeing our good works, men will give praise to God our Father in heaven!                                                                                                              Amen!