Reading I: Sir 15:15-20
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37
Throughout our lives we make choices. For me, some of the choices I have made were good and other choices were not so good. Some of my choices have been life altering and some of my choices have derailed a plan I had. Some of our choices are purely our decision. Other choices are made in conjunction with others, especially if that choice will have an impact on them. God does not dictate to us what to choose; God gave us free will and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The first reading from the book of Sirach states that whatever we choose we will have. The writer encourages us to put our trust in God when making choices instead of relying on ourselves, because God is the source of true wisdom, which will bring life.
There is a difference between human wisdom and God’s wisdom as described in the second reading of 1 Corinthians. Human wisdom or wisdom of this age is limited to what is seen and to human reasoning. According to Paul, God’s wisdom must be received and believed spiritually through God’s Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us, those who love God, to go deeper, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit — beyond what we can see, hear, feel, or comprehend — thereby tapping into God’s wisdom, which is the source of true life, transcends our own little worlds, and is meant to draw the community of believers closer together.
Love of God is necessary for the gift of wisdom. 1 John 4:20 states, “whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” The basic nature of God is love. When we love others with unselfish love, we are taking on the nature of God and in effect loving God. We are commanded to love God and love our neighbor as our self. When we do this, we are demonstrating that we love God.
Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, gives us a new way of adhering to God’s commandments. He does not want us to follow God’s commands blindly and legalistically but to really delve into the intentions of our actions to identify and, if necessary, correct the root causes that trigger our actions. Jesus was not only interested in what the law permits or prohibits, but he also scrutinized the intentions and motives of the heart that led to the action. In Jesus’ concluding remarks, he essentially says to say what you mean and mean what you say. Let your words and your actions be truthful.
We have just recently witnessed the horrific and evil killing of yet another black male, Tyre Nichols, by those who were sworn to serve and protect. Unfortunately, the Church has been silent in condemning this act. As disciples of Christ, we must not become indifferent to the evil that is so prevalent in our world today. It is our Christian responsibility to rise up with a righteous indignation and to be the moral voice in this world crying out against injustices like racism, sexism, police brutality, violence, food insecurity, inequitable health care, and mass incarceration, just to name a few. There is a cost to discipleship. There needs to be a call to action, from us, the disciples of Christ, to fight these injustices that are perpetuated in all our communities. Are you willing to take a stand for justice? The choice is yours.