6th Sunday O.T (A).
“HAPPY ARE THEY WHO
FOLLOW THE LAW OF THE LORD!”
AV summary + text.
Today’s Sunday liturgy focuses on our calling to live according to the commandments of God’s law.
- In the 1st reading, we are reminded to make good use of our freedom and to facilitate this, God gave us the commandments.
- In the Gospel, we are encouraged by Our Lord Jesus Christ to live our Faith with a new wisdom, interior depth and generosity (“You have heard that the ancients were told … but I tell you.”), guarding what has been entrusted to us (2nd reading) and avoiding everything which undermines our faith, hope and love for God.
The question arises: Why does Our Lord insist on fulfilling His commandments? The answer is found in the Responsorial Psalm.
“Happy are they who follow the law of the Lord.”
- In today’s Gospel (Mt 5: 17-37), among other things, Our Lord said:
17 ”Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets;
I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
18 For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Let us reiterate on the fact that Christian faith has its center on the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ: our faithful following and identification with Him, such that our thoughts, words and actions are conformed to His. Christians are called by God to live their lives as Christ lived.
- This shows that OUR FAITH, ̶WITH JESUS AS ITS CENTER, AND CHRISTIAN LIFE AS LOVING, FOLLOWING AND IMITATING HIM̶, HAS MORAL REPERCUSSIONS. FAITH AND MORALITY ARE INSEPARABLE, FOR THE LATTER IS NOTHING BUT A CONSEQUENCE OF THE FORMER. If we are to live Christ’s life, then we must imitate the virtues He taught and lived during His life on earth and which He transmitted to us through the Church He founded through His Apostles.
- This is the reason why Our Lord insists that we should avoid the mere exterior fulfillment of the commandments as the Pharisees did, but with their hearts far from God. Our “righteousness” = “justice” = “holiness” should exceed that of the Pharisees’ mere external observance, but rather be the fruit of an interior and loving assimilation of the true Wisdom and Spirit of Christ.
- “Jesus teaches how to fully carry out God’s will and he uses these words: with a ‘righteousness’ that ‘exceeds’ that of the scribes and the Pharisees (cf. v. 20). A righteousness enlivened by love. charity. mercy. and hence capable of fulfilling the substance of the commandments avoiding the risk of formalism (Pope Francis, Angelus, 6th Sunday O.T., Homily 2017).”
- The commandments play an important role for they lay down the groundwork for us to acquire virtues and the true Spirit of Christ. The commandments lead us to live the virtues contained in them so as to make us connatural with the true moral good and thus gradually live as Christ lived.
- All the above-mentioned ideas presuppose and at the same time spur us to MAKE GOOD USE OF OUR GOD-GIVEN GIFT: FREEDOM, as pointed out in the 1st reading (Sir 15:15-20)
“If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, 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 see all he has made; he understands man’s every deed. No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies.”
- At the same time, our use of freedom, guarding what has been transmitted to us and avoiding anything which might undermine our faith and love (2nd reading, 1 Cor 2:6–10 and Resp. Psalm) is what will lead us to happiness.
“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.”
Happy are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Dear brethren in Christ, let us then follow Our Lord faithfully by following His Law, the Law of Grace and Spirit, facilitated by the fulfillment of His Commandments which is the 1st step which God pedagogically gave us to do what is morally good and acquire the good habits (= virtues), enabling us to imitate Christ for God’s love and glory –conform our thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions to His’–and leading us to everlasting beatitude/happiness!
O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant us to be so fashioned by your grace that we become a dwelling pleasing to you…cleanse and renew us and may it become for those who do your will the source of eternal reward.
(Opening prayer and Prayer over the offerings)
Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life.
Thanks! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
AUDIO CREDIT: Sheep May Safely Graze – BWV 208 Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
PHOTO CREDIT AND SOURCES: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Benediction_of_God_the_Father_by_Luca_Cambiaso,_c._1565,_oil_on_wood_-_Museo_Diocesano_(Genoa)_-_DSC01566.JPG