In the readings for this week from the Book of Sirach, 1Corinthians and Matthew’s gospel, I hear the call to choose, and to trust God, acknowledging that great gift that God gives us, – the free will to make the choice for life in all circumstances of our lives.
Sirach suggests that “if you choose you can keep the commandments, and they will save you;” We are invited to action here and to TRUST God, then we are given choices – opposites- from which to choose – fire/water, life/death, good/evil. We know that all our choices have consequences, but Sirach warns us that “whichever we choose will be given us.” The onus for one’s choice rests on one’s own shoulders. Therefore, we may ask, can we trust the “God of Immense Wisdom” who has given us that gift of free will to make a choice for life in all situations?
Paul speaking to the Corinthians is asking us to make another choice. Are we willing to run with the ‘Wisdom of the World, or can we be open and attuned to “God’s Wisdom”, which is “mysterious, hidden, and which God predetermined before the ages for our glory?” Again can we let go of our controlling ways and let God reveal His WISDOM to us through his life-giving Spirit within us?
In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells us that He has come “not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” To fulfill, in this context, means to complete. Jesus’ teaching not only completes the law, – but in his very person, message, and mission – he completes and perfects the law.
Jesus begins each of the examples given us today with “You have heard it said…,” “but I say to you…” The first example addresses the prohibition of murder, but Jesus broadens His response and therefore gives a deeper understanding of the prohibition.
Jesus calls us to reconciliation and working out of differences before the anger leads us to the court of law or even to Gehenna. It is similar with the other statements of wrongdoing too.
Jesus concludes his teachings today by exhorting his disciples – you and me alike – to say “yes” and “no” and to follow through on what we say.
One of the challenges for us this week is to TRUST the “God of Immense Wisdom” to guide us in our choices – the choices that will help us reach the ‘Holiness’ – that God desires for each of us. Perhaps our prayer this week might be the refrain from a hymn I often hear at church:-
“Take my heart, enfold it. Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, conform it to yours, O God.”
Therese Lenehan OP