"Choose Life or Death, Good or Evil"

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

16 February 2020

Novus Ordo

“For I say unto you that unless your justice exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 5:20

Today, in the Liturgy of the Word, we are given the wisdom of God which is diametrically opposed to the wisdom of the world. If we follow God’s wisdom in our lives then we will be happy both in this life and in eternity. As we approach the Holy Season of Lent, we should think seriously about the Wisdom of God which is given to us in the scriptures.


“Choose life or death, good or evil”

Sir. 15:18

In the First Reading from Sirach (15:15-20), we are given an idea of God’s wisdom which is revealed to in His commandments. If we keep them we will be preserved: “If thou wild keep the commandments and perform acceptable fidelity forever, they will preserve him.” Sir. 15:16 As man has free will, he can choose “Life or death, good or evil.” Sir. 15: 18. However, if he does not choose what eternal wisdom prescribes, he will do so to his own ruin: “For the wisdom of God is great, and He is strong in power, seeing all without ceasing. The eyes of the Lord are towards them that fear him, and He knoweth the work of man.” Sir: 19-20. Almighty God knows and sees all and will reward those who fear to offend Him. Only by doing God’s will, which is true wisdom, will man be happy.


The Wisdom of God is opposed to the World


St. Paul in the Second Reading from the First Epistle to the Corinthians (2:6-10) continues the theme of divine wisdom which is mysterious and hidden from the world: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew; for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.” I Cor. 2:6-8 This wisdom, if man follows it, will bring him happiness: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Cor. 2:9 In another passage from First Corinthians, St. Paul speaks of this heavenly wisdom which must be practiced if one is to achieve eternal happiness: “Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liars with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. I Cor. 6:9-10


Jesus Fulfils the Law


In the Gospel today, Mt. 5: 17-37, we have an explanation of what St. Paul said in the Second Reading. Jesus gives us divine wisdom on how to live our lives! As He says, He has not come to destroy the Law, but fulfil it.” Mt. 5:17 His doctrine explains in detail what is expected of His followers. He wants the justice of His followers to exceed that of Scribes and Pharisees who teach others to do away with some of the commandments:

“For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 5:20 Jesus expects His followers to obey not only the commandment not to kill, but also to be careful not to destroy someone verbally with insults: “But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. “Mt. 5:22 Jesus even tells them that if they are offering their gifts at the altar and are angry with their neighbour ,they should first be reconciled with their brother: Mt. 5: 23-24 “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.” Mt. 5: 23-24 Not only does Jesus forbid the act of adultery, but He also forbids any lustful desires: “You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart” Mt. 5:28 Jesus demands the fulfilment of the law in regards to marriage: “And it hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.” Mt. 5:31-32


Not Everyone is Saved


Jesus Christ who is Divine Wisdom Himself admonished the Jews that their justice has to exceed that of Scribes and Pharisees who were their teachers: “For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 5:20 Today, we have the heresy of Universalism which believes that everyone is saved. Today, so many people do not believe in sin! They believe that if you have faith you will be saved. St. Paul spelled it out explicitly: Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liars with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.” I Cor. 6:9-10 We need to repent of our sins while there is still time. We also need to believe in the teaching of the Church on heaven and hell. One woman who told St. Padre Pio that she did not believe in hell was told by saint: “You will (believe in hell) when you get there.”

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