• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Saturday, 15 February 2020 11:59

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 2020

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5:17-37


Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestWhen I was in my first year in the seminary, our Religious Education teacher challenged us to see who knew the Ten Commandments and who could recite them. I raised my hand and thanks be to God, I got them all to the amazement of my classmates because there were only two of us who raised up their hands. And maybe while you are reading this, how many of the Ten Commandments do you really know? ;)

The gospel today begins with a clarification from Jesus that he is not a person who will abolish the law but, to the contrary, he is the one who is going to fulfil the Law and the Prophets.

When Jesus started preaching and becoming famous, he was known as a sort of maverick among his contemporaries. While Jesus was very much loved and respected by the Jews, he seemed to raise the ire of the scribes and Pharisees because of his seemingly utter disregard of their traditions. His actions were being interpreted to mean that he wanted to abolish the Law and the Prophets which the scribes, the Pharisees and the Jews deeply cherished. However, Jesus allayed their fears by saying that even if heaven and earth disappeared, that not even one dot or even one little stroke would disappear until its purpose is achieved. So why are the scribes and Pharisees afraid of Jesus? Because Jesus’ actions seem to violate their traditions like all the little rites and rituals that the scribes and Pharisees observed very meticulously, such as how they sprinkle food with water, wash all those cups and dishes and their hands meticulously before eating food. However, again for Jesus he was not interested in those outward rituals but he was more interested in what is inside one’s heart.

Jesus in the gospel today has given us three commandments and he is challenging us to go beyond the outward observance of the law and observe the law with our hearts also.

Firstly, the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill.” How many of us would go through our lives without killing another human being by intention? It is easy to say that we are not murderers and most probably that is very true, for murdering another person is something that would be the farthest from our minds. But Jesus wants us to go beyond the actual killing of another person. He warns us that if we are angry with our brother or call them a fool or a traitor, we are also liable to punishment. Jesus thinks that this is so important that he wants us to settle first any argument with our brothers or sisters before going to church. In other words, we might not be able to kill a person physically but calling them a fool, a traitor or even thinking of any harm to anybody, it is also as good as killing them physically.

Second, the sixth commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” Before anything else, in Jewish society, both man and woman are supposed to be punished for anybody caught in the act of adultery, it’s just that Jewish society is hesitant to punish men even if Jewish law sees man and woman as equals. To commit adultery is still a relatively rare occurrence in today’s society. Even though the number of divorces because of marital infidelity is on the rise, it is still a small minority in comparison to the general population. However, Jesus again wants us to “level up” and he warns that even just looking at another woman with lust is already committing adultery in one’s heart. Again, Jesus wants to emphasise about where our hearts are. Jesus is not only telling us to avoid having inappropriate relationships with another woman or man but more importantly is to be faithful to your husband and wife by not entertaining any lustful thoughts of another man or woman because this could sow seeds of what could be an adulterous relationship in the future.

Lastly, the eighth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against one’s neighbour”. Obviously, this commandment could only be in force in a formal setting when one is being asked one’s testimony under oath. Obviously, if one is expected to testify under oath, it is the expectation not to lie because of the punishment of perjury. But Jesus wants us to say either just “Yes” if we mean yes and “No” if we mean no, not only when we are under oath but even if we’re not. How many of us would use the words “For heaven’s sake…” “In the name of Christ…” “Even I get struck by lightning…” just to emphasise that we’re telling the truth but actually we’re lying. How many of our politicians would say so many outrageous things because they are under “parliamentary immunity”? Or how many government officials have resorted to their favourite phrase “I don’t know”. “I cannot recall that incident.” Etc. Jesus is simply telling us that we should tell the truth, oath or no oath.

Jesus came to this world to complete the Law and the Prophets by teaching us that we should not only observe the Law by mere outward observances but more importantly, by observing them using our hearts. Because if our hearts are in the right place then our outward actions will obviously follow.