First Reading: Sirach 15: 15-20
Psalm Response: Psalm 119: 1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2: 8-10
Gospel: Matthew 5: 17-37
The reading from Sirach places a radical choice before us to choose a wisdom “not of this world” but one which reveals the revolutionary tone of Jesus’ teachings as expressed in the radical propositions of the Sermon on the Mount which are given us today for serious reflection. It can be dangerous—even mind blowing to ponder at length the challenging words and even more to try to live them in our daily lives: TO FACE OUR UNWILLINGSS TO TRULY FORGIVE; TO HONESTLY ACCEPT OUR ROLE AS DISCIPLES—SAYING YES WHEN WE MEAN YES, AND NO WHEN WE MEAN NO, NOT TO EQUIVICATE IN SPEAKING THE TRUTH; NOT HESITATING TO REMOVE WHATEVER IS IN THE WAY OF KEEPING GOD’S LAW OF LAW—“GOUGING OUT OUR EYES…”
All of these challenges could make our usual mediocre efforts seem futile unless we remember that the Sermon on the Mount is really an invitation to experience high holiness, union with God, which “eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has it even dawned on us what God has prepared for those who love God.” God loves us so much as to DEMAND a seeming heroic response to that indescribable GIFT.
God of Wisdom and Compassion, we come before you aware of our sinfulness, weakness, vulnerability and tendency to water down the challenges of your words in the Sermon on the Mount. Cleanse our minds so that we can discern your Spirit in us showing us how to respond to your awesome invitation in our daily lives. Disturb us when our efforts are half-hearted so we can continue to begin again and again. Help us to share our desires and struggles with others so that we can support one another and become a reminder of God’s Presence to our wounded world. Amen.
Norma Rocklage, osf