Theme of the Sunday: It Was Said to Our Ancestors. . . But I Say This to You. The first reading tells us that we are free and we are accountable for our actions. The second reading speaks of the wisdom of God, so different from human wisdom; the gospel gives some examples of this. The disciples do not ask Jesus to explain what he says. They believe in the love of the Father and they know that the way he shows them is the way to life.
Entrance Antiphon Cf. Ps 30:3-4
Be my protector, O God, a mighty stronghold to save me. For you are my rock, my stronghold! Lead me, guide me, for the sake of your name.
O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you. Through our Lord…
“He has not commanded any one to be ungodly.”
A reading from the Book of Sirach (Sirach 15: 15-20)
If you will, you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live. He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, good and evil, and whichever he chooses will be given to him. For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything. The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 119: 1-2.4-5.17-18.33-34 (R. lb)
R/. Blessed are those who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his decrees!
With all their hearts they seek him. R.
You have laid down your precepts to be carefully kept.
May my ways be firm in keeping your statutes. R.
Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law. R.
Lord, teach me the way of your statutes,
and I will keep them to the end.
Grant me insight that I may keep your law,
and observe it wholeheartedly. R/.
“They wisdom of God which he decreed before the ages for our glorification”
A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to Corinthians (I Corinthians 2:6-10)
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians Brethren: Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Matthew 11 :25
Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, but I say to you.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5:17-.37)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples,* “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgement. ’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council,* and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. ’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lust- fully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.* If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. ’ But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress ; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.* Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from the Evil One.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
As Jesus began his public ministry, it was clear he did not approve of many things the Pharisees said and did. He denounced them for their wrong interpretation of the laws and the prophets. Jesus in our gospel reading today, states categorically that he has come not to abolish the law or the Prophets but to complete them. While the scribes and the Pharisees, multiplied the laws for reasons of pride, Jesus reaffirms the true spirit of the Law and prophets and raises them to a new level that perfects them. Rather than taking pride in having not committed murder, the follower of Jesus must be weary of committing slander which kills though not physically. While Moses taught that it was wrong to commit adultery, Jesus says it is even wrong to entertain thoughts of adultery. Thus, he challenged his disciples and us to look within and check our attitude and intentions because these precede our actions. Our Christian identity is defined not just by what we don’t do but by what we do. The virtue of the followers of Jesus must go beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees.
Prayer of the Faithful
Celebrant: Before offering our gifts at this altar, let us unite our hearts in prayer for all the people of God:
That our Church community may seek the life and love of God in all things: let us pray to the Lord.
That our Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and all who serve the Church may be ministers of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation: let us pray to the Lord.
That the nations, governments, and peoples of the world may realize the goodness of all that God has made and work together for the just use of the earth’s gifts: lets us pray to the Lord.
That students and young people may be inspired by God’s holy wisdom to make responsible and mature decisions in the choices and challenges that will face them in their lives: let us pray to the Lord.
That the poor and homeless, the sick and the suffering, the addicted and the abused, may find, among us, compassion and support: let us pray to the Lord.
That God will welcome into the heavenly kingdom the souls of all who have died in God’s peace: let us pray to the Lord.
That God will hear the prayers we now make in the silence of our hearts
To you, O God, nothing is hidden; from you, O Lord, no secrets are kept. Hear the prayers and hopes of our hearts that we might have the courage to speak what we hope for and to live what we seek. In Jesus’ name, we pray.