Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
"Be my protector, O God, a mighty stronghold to save me." (Ps. 31:3)
This Sunday’s scripture readings put us directly in touch with human reality and our challenges to live authentically the Christian life. In St. Matthew’s Gospel reading, we find Jesus instructing his followers about God’s law and how basic this is toward our attainment of living the “Jesus Way.” These Commandments, given to Moses centuries before Jesus’ birth, are the focus of this gospel message. We all know instinctively that personal and societal choices between good and evil, between right and wrong, are the template of human nature. The DNA human struggles Jesus mentions, in this gospel passage, are the basic life choices humankind has dealt with, down through the ages: to kill or not to kill, to cultivate violence or not to, to lie or to tell the truth, to condone the adulterous behavior or not to. All of these evils spring from the human temptation to turn away from God and to try to “rule over” and have “one’s own way “in life situations.
However, in the first reading, we find the antidote to our selfish ways. Here, in The Wisdom of Sirach, an Old Testament writing, we meet an instructional guide, an observer of life who served as a guide to the Jews. Sirach put a light on God’s wisdom for humanity to follow; he said: “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will serve you; if you trust in God you shall live.” (Sir.15:15) Our greatest contribution to goodness in the world is to develop a deep relationship with God and to integrate Holy Wisdom into our lives. Indeed, we are summoned to try and to conform our life to Jesus’ example, so we become a reflection of the Divine goodness. In this present day, we can turn to the 21st-century wisdom figure, Pope Francis. He leads us with his actions and his words: “Being a Christian isn’t just following the commandments, but means being in Christ, thinking like him, loving him: it means letting him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, free them from the darkness of evil and sin."
Sister Shirley Jeffcott, OP