Bulletin: February 16, 2020
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings draw us into ageless, vibrant depths. Followers of God’s law, we belong to ancient traditions. Children of God, we marvel at the freshness of creation. The Old Testament readings, from Sirach and the Psalms, celebrate the rich blessings we receive when we observe God’s commands—not because we are slaves to the law, but because the law gives life in abundance. Saint Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians confirms the glory of divine law, but warns that God’s ways tend to be unpopular and misunderstood in this world. Paul speaks of the ancient wisdom of God, which is mysteriously both “hidden” and “revealed.” God does not have secret codes that we earthly mortals cannot understand; in love, God reveals the glory of the divine way in Jesus. Saint Matthew’s Gospel emphasizes the importance of living in God’s law, enlivened by a deep and personal relationship with Jesus.
THE RULERS OF THIS AGE
Saint Paul speaks of both the “wisdom of this age” and the “rulers of this age.” He refers specifically to the so-called wise people and institutions responsible for unjustly condemning Jesus to death. As we mourn the human sin that killed Jesus two thousand years ago, we also consider contemporary errors and evils that wound the Body of Christ in our own age. We easily recognize the crimes of our leaders. Religious, corporate, and government institutions have inflicted suffering on countless innocent souls. The depth of our modern-day failures threatens us with despair. But Jesus calls us to renewed faithfulness and hope. Jesus tells us to “surpass” our leaders in righteousness. He instructs us to simplify our own lives: “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” We are right to work against the sins of our leaders, but we must also scrutinize our own lives and make peace with our families, neighbors, and coworkers.
There is some urgency in Christ’s call to holiness. Everything in this age is passing away. Jesus’ call is timely and radical, pleading with us to drop other business and make reconciliation a priority. The Lord actually says to “leave your gift at the altar” and return to worship after making peace with the adversaries in our lives. Jesus is deadly serious about the need for reconciliation and righteousness, insisting that nothing—not even our eyes and arms—are worth more than love. All of today’s readings reflect on the deep connection between God’s law and healthy, peaceful love. As Saint Paul says in Romans 13:10, “love is the fulfillment of the law.” Here in the twenty-first century, we modern disciples of Christ can cultivate that mystery deep in our hearts, nurturing the tremendous twin gifts of God’s love and God’s law, offered to us freely to help us sustain a healthy and holy Body of Christ.
Today’s Readings: Sir 15:15–20; Ps 119:1–2, 4–5, 17–18, 33–34; 1 Cor 2:6–10; Mt 5:17–37 [20–22a, 27–28, 33–34a, 37]