Monday, February 6, 2017

Ø  We have heard where to find happiness and we have heard also that we have been called to be light and salt.  
Ø  Today's readings speak to us about the Law and about the freedom to chooe that has been given to the human person.  
Book of Sirach  
Ø  The book of Sirach is also called Ecclesiasticus. 
Ø  This book belongs to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. 
Ø  The Wisdom books are: 
a.     Job
b.     Proverbs
c.      Ecclesiastes or Qohelet
d.     Ecclesiasticus  or   Sirach
e.     Wisdom 
Ø  The book of the Ecclesiasticus or Sirach is considered by the Jewish People and the Protestant Churches to be deutero-canonical, that is belonging to the second (deutero) canon (list).  The Catholic Church has included it in the Old Testament, and has used it abundantly in the liturgy.   
Ø  In the last paragraph of the foreword of the book written by the grandson of Jesus we read how the book was composed by Jesus Ben Sirach.   On chapter 50 at the end of the book the verses 27-28 explains again how all this wisdom literature was put together by Jesus son of Sirach. 
Ø  It was written around 180 B.C. in Hebrew by Jesus, and translated into Greek by his grandson.
FIRST READING   Sir 15:15-20
Ø  We can choose to keep the commandments, this is salvation for us or, we may reject them and this is condemnation. 
Ø  The Lord has given us the freedom to choose between fire and water, good and bad, life and death. 
Ø  The sacred writer tells us that whatever we choose will be given to us. God is respectful toward his creation; he respects the freedom he has given us.    
Ø  God is wise and all powerful. His eyes are on those who love and fear him, and he understands men's every deeds.  
Ø  God never commands anyone to do evil or to sin. 
Ø  How an interesting theme, the Law and human freedom. 
Ø  The law is for our good, but we have the freedom to reject it. However the Lord will continue to call us, to seek us and to wait for our coming back to him.   
RESPONSORIAL Ps 119: 1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Be good to your servant, that I may live
and keep your words.
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law.
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes,
that I may exactly observe them.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Ø  This psalm is the longest psalm and, it sings the beauty of the Law of the Lord. 
Ø  It says how happy are those who follow the ways of the Lord. In this way the Lord has given us his commandments to guide and protect us.  .
Ø  The commandments were given to be observed, and the psalmist manifests his desire to be faithful.   
Ø  He asks God to open his eyes to contemplate the wonders of his Law.  
Ø  The last verse we will read this coming Sunday is an invocation asking the Lord to show to us  the way of his precepts.  
Ø  He also asks the Lord to instruct him so that he may be able to keep the Law with his whole heart. 
Ø  For an Israelite the Law is not made of a group of external rules, but something we carry inside and gives life to us.   
GOSPEL  Mt 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37   
v In the verses before today's reading Jesus says that he has come, not to abolish the law but, to fulfill it.   
v Yes, the Lord has come to help us to make his law real in our life.  He has come to help us to love the law and to conduct our life according to it. 
v Then Jesus unfolds before our eyes the real meaning of the law, he gives it its fulfillment 
v Let us see what he says to us and, let us pay attention to his teaching so that, we may be able to live according to what Jesus teaches about the Law.        
v He adds that your(our) justice, our  truth is not superior to that of the Pharisees and the scribes, we will not be able to be part of the Kingdom, of his project. 
v The Pharisees were known to be faithful in keeping the words of the law, but not always were they worried about the real meaning of the law.  
v Jesus is going to reveal to us the real meaning of some of the laws, those that worry him the most.  
ü  You have heard that it was said to your ancestors "You shall not kill"  
            But I say to you whoever gets angry with his brother will be subject to       judgment.   
            There are many ways to kill. With our words, looks, gestures we may hurt in such a way the self-esteem of someone that he or she will live without enthusiasm,     without any dreams for the future, considering him or herself worthless. That is,         that person is dead even if he or she continues to live.
ü  You have heard that it was said "You shall not commit adultery" 
But I say to you whoever looks at a woman with evil desire has already committed adultery with her in his heart.   Adultery is committed in the heart, even if there are no external actions, because adultery is an infidelity toward the person with whom I have committed myself. It is a lie I say with my behavior.  

ü  You have heard it was said " Do not take a false oath" 
But I say to you, do not swear at all, may your speech be yes or not.  
We have been given the ability to speak so that we may communicate with each other,  proclaim and say the truth, and this not only with words  but with our life.  Our life cannot contradict what our lips say.    
We see how Jesus takes the law to its deepest meaning, to our inner being, from the exterior to the interior where God dwells.  That is to say from the appearances that sometimes are false to a sincere and open life without lies.    


*     In the verses we read last week Paul said that he had decided to know nothing except Christ and Christ crucified wisdom of God and nonsense for those who do not love him. 

*     Today Paul says that he speaks with a wisdom which does not belong to this world, and that none of the rulers of the world can understand.  

*     If the rulers of this world had known this wisdom, a wisdom that God gives to all of us, they would certainly not crucified the Lord Jesus.  

*     He continues saying that God has prepared for those who love him, what eye has not seen and what ear has not heard. 

*     At the end of this fragment he says something very interesting, this has been revealed to us by the Spirit, because the Spirit knows God depth. I think that this sentence is an invitation to pray and seek its meaning in order to discover its richness.    


This, which at first sight may appear to the Bishops as something of little importance, is the only weapon with which they should defend the Holy Law which they should preach, and understand that without this, all of their works will be fruitless.  I could say great things here about the esteem that a Prelate should have of the example of his Divine Master, as God has taught me, but it seems to bold to me, for I speak with whom I am not worthy to hear, and so it appears to me I will fulfill my obligation simply writing the most essential points that His Divine Majesty has pointed out to me without excluding any, without failing to observe the Lord’s command. 

Therefore, after renewing themselves and their associates, the Bishops should fully devote themselves to distributing the bread of the Divine Word.  This is a point that has his Divine Majesty very sad and displeased because it is not preached as it should be.  Therefore, may the aim of preaching be the observance of the divine commandments and the end of times; for Judgment will flood the earth. (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Plan for the Renewal of the Church 19-20)

Preaching has always been considered the main duty of the Bishops. And Jesus our model, gave us an example ...A great wise man of our time has said: 

«The divine word has been, is and will be always the queen of the world.” 

«The divine word brought forth from nothingness all things.” 

«The divine word of Jesus Christ ransomed the lost.” 

«The societies are exhausted and hungry because they do not receive the daily bread….

I will copy here the fulminating words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy:  «I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whther it is convenient or inconvenient, convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.  But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry» (Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder  of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church  “Duties of the Prelate “)  


CLARET, Antonio María Claret, “Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church.”

PAGOLA, José A.   El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012

PARIS, María Antonia, “Plan for the Renewal of the Church,”  19-20.  

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. Adaptación de textos y comentarios a la BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO.   

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