(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, February 12, 2017)
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time A
In the Gospels, there is no mention of women being blind, of women being deaf, or women being dumb! There is mention only of men who couldn't see, hear, or speak! Is that perhaps the reason why Scripture speaks of wisdom as a woman? True, justice is a woman who chooses to be blind, in order that she may not be biased by the forces of either power or pity.
Our readings this week show us the wisdom of both Moses and Jesus. The writer of Sirach (formerly Ecclesiasticus), puts two choices before his audience - fire or water, life or death, just as Moses had done to the Israelites about to enter the Promised Land. Fire is a symbol for the Spirit which breathes life and Wisdom, while water suggests death by drowning in sin and foolishness.
St. Paul, in the second reading, urges the new Christians to seek the Wisdom that comes from God's Spirit, a divine wisdom, a mysterious wisdom planned from eternity. This wisdom urges us to embrace Christ's crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Faith in this mystery will reveal to us the meaning of our lives.
In the Gospel, which continues the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus amazes His listeners by declaring that He has come, not to destroy the Law of Moses, but to fulfil it. Then He proceeds to go beyond the Law to its radical conclusion. He concentrates on two sins forbidden especially by the Law of Moses - murder and adultery. He emphasizes in practical terms the sins that lie behind the commandments.
If we are to avoid murder, then we must root out the sin of anger which leads to murder. If we are to avoid adultery, we must root out the sin of lust which leads to adultery. If we want to be righteous then we must take very strenuous efforts to go beyond the Law - even anger against one's brother or sister is cause for severe judgment.
Jesus then departs from the literal, deliberately exaggerating his advice: "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members, than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna (hell)." He says the same about sinning with your hand. But we certainly get the point! The passage is a long one, forbidding divorce unless there are grounds for the invalidity of the marriage. He warns against false oaths, urging us to use simple language. "Let your 'yes' mean 'yes,' and your 'no' mean 'no!'"
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor