Sunday Says Podcast – February 16, 2014 Mass Readings and Reflections
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 16, 2014.
This Sunday’s readings focus on the Law as defined in the Old Testament and fulfillment of that Law in Christ in the New Testament.
Our readings this week, as always, are from the New Jerusalem translation for copyright purposes. The readings this week are longer than usual so let’s get started.
In the First Reading, from the book of Sirach we are reminded that because we have free will, we always have a choice whether to obey or not obey God. God’s rules are not forced on us but failure to obey always has natural negative consequences We abuse our freedom when we disobey God. However, we use our freedom appropriately when seek to follow God’s law not only in our actions but also in our hearts.
In the Responsorial Psalm, the response of “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord” continues the theme of obedience to God’s word. Love for God should translate into a staunch desire to know God’s will and to do His will to the best of our ability as our top priority and burning desire.
The Second Reading is from St. Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians(2:6-10). Paul contrasts worldly wisdom with the unique wisdom that comes from God only through the Holy Spirit. This wisdom is a wisdom that revealed wisdom. It is something that people would never figure out on their own. It makes no sense, and is even scandalous to the rulers and trend-setters of the world. But this wisdom is rooted in the mystery of God and contains a promise so wonderful that it surpasses anything we can imagine in this life. A glimpse of this mystery has been revealed in Christ and becomes more accessible as we mature in faith and submit ourselves to the cross of Christ.
Our Gospel reading taken from St. Matthew’s Gospel and covers a lot of territory. Here we see Jesus confirm the continuing value of the Old Testament and the moral law given in the Old Testament. However, Jesus proceeds to unpack what the Law is all about – that the Law essentially is only a starting point. What is truly important is that our obedience to the Law go beyond mere externals. Jesus sees the Scribes and Pharisees distorting the intentions of the Law and warns us not to do the same. Assuming our obedience comes from love it would make sense that our desire would be to follow the spirit of the law as well as the letter. But without watering anything down, Jesus explains the deeper meanings of the commandments and makes it clear just what aspects of the moral law he cares about. In fact, many of the Church’s teachings that so many people take issue with come from Christ’s own words in this passage. These teachings were a major challenge to the paganized world of Jesus’ time and remain so in ours.
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