The Bishops Homily – 6th Sunday Ordinary Time

6th Sunday Ordinary Time
Sir.15:15-20
I Cor. 2:6-10
Mt. 5:17-37

INTRODUCTION: This weekend continues for three Sunday’s now Jesus’ Inaugural Address, regarded as the Keynote of the New Age or the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. Today is spelled out the spirit of the New Testament religion: “The disciples of Jesus are to go beyond mere legalism in keeping the Ten Commandments.”

(1) THE JEWS spoke with pride about the Law of Moses, the Torah. It was the best gift they had received from God. In their synagogues, they kept it with great veneration in a special place called The Holy of Holies. In the Law, they found everything needed to be faithful to God.
JESUS, however, was not obsessed with the Law. He did not concentrate on studying or teaching it to his disciples. He was never preoccupied by the strict observance of the Law that over time reached to more than 500. He did not of course start a campaign against it, but it did not take a central place in his heart or in his teaching.

(2) JESUS sought the will of God from a different perspective: he saw his God he called Abba trying to find his way into the hearts of people to make them build a more humane and just world. That spells the difference that revolutionized everything. The Law is not the deciding reference to know what God wants from us; rather, what is most important is “to seek the Kingdom of God and his justice.”
THE PHARISEES AND THE SCRIBES were only pre-occupied with the strict observance of the laws with little concern for love and justice. JESUS, on the other hand, wanted his disciples to be moved by a different spirit: “If your justice is not better than the scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of God.” We must go beyond the legalism that is satisfied with the literal fulfillment of laws.

(3) When we seek the will of God with the passion of Jesus, we always go well beyond the letter of the Law. To make a more humane world that Jesus wants, it is not enough only not to kill but to banish all hatred from one’s heart; nor to commit adultery only but to rid oneself of all lust, nor to make vows to the Lord but to make good your vows to the Lord. Listen to Jesus’ words very carefully: “I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill it.” Jesus did not come to do away with the legal and religious legacy of the Old Testament. He came to fulfill and enrich the human family and liberate it from the danger of legalism.

CONCLUSION: Our Christianity will be all the more evangelical and humane to the extent that we learn to keep the commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, or the traditions of the people the way Jesus did: seeking a more just and humane world as his Father wants.

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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