for Sunday, February 12, 2017
The first reading today, from the Book of Sirach, a wisdom book, tells us this: "If you trust in God, you too shall live." In the second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us: "We speak a wisdom to those who are mature." And the Gospel from Matthew today reminds us that it is not external behavior that determines everything, but what is more important is what is happening in our hearts and the external behavior that flows from what is happening in our hearts.
God's Word is challenging us today to deep conversion in our lives. God's Word reminds us over and over that to follow God is not only about external behavior but about the conversion of our hearts and our way of living because of a deep, personal relationship with God. To follow God is a commitment to a living relationship with God and from that relationship comes our external behavior.
The Book of Sirach tells us: "Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him." Life and death! We choose one or the other with our daily lives. We know that we can talk a lot about God and not do His will. We can observe rules without giving our hearts to the Lord. But our God is a consuming fire and wants us to give ourselves completely to Him. We cannot fool God!
The First Letter to the Corinthians continues this teaching, asking us to be wise people because God will give us His life if we give God our lives. Again, to be clear, we must know that we cannot fool God. God wants us to give ourselves to Him completely. God is not interested in good actions that lack our commitment to Him. God wants every bit of us.
Matthew's Gospel tells us the same lesson: doing good actions that look good in the eyes of the world and yet which do not contain our complete commitment to Him is not enough: "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.'" We cannot fool God. God wants us to give ourselves completely to Him.
May we give ourselves to God today and every day. He will give Himself to us beyond all that we can imagine!
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Sirach 15.15-20
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2.6-10
Gospel: Matthew 5.17-37
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: