Two sisters spent the day fighting. That evening they prepared for bed, still mad at each other. As usual, each knelt by the side of her bed for their prayers. "Dear God," the 8-year-old began, "Bless Daddy and Mommy, bless our cat and dog." Then she stopped. Her mother gently prodded, "Didn’t you forget somebody?" She glared across the bed at her 6-year-old sister and added, "And, oh yes, God, bless my ex-sister."
We just celebrated Valentine’s Day. I am sure everybody talked about and celebrated lots of LOVE. Today’s readings talk about LOVE. It challenges us to choose freely and wisely in order to observe the laws given us by a loving and caring God.
Ben Sira, the author says in the Book of Sirach, tells us that we are engulfed with the mercy and love of God. He is all around us and in us. He knows what is going on within us. He gives us a choice: choose Him or reject Him. If we choose Him, we live. If we reject Him, we die. God has given the power to choose.
The Gospel is a continuation of last Sunday. Gospel of Matthew chapter five started with Sermon on the Mount. Today’s Gospel starts with a statement “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill…whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”
When evangelist wrote the Gospel, his audience was the Jewish converts. Jews had 613 laws and sub laws. Matthew tells them, Jesus came to bring the old law to its natural fulfillment in the new. In another way he says, he came to complete the law. They knew the Ten Commandments. Jesus enhances them and invites them and us to integrate law and love together. Another dimension of Jesus teaching in the Gospel is an invitation to clean up our inner thoughts, so the external actions will be more profound and meaningful. In other words, Jesus tells us to go deeper than just avoiding occasions of sin. They tell us that God sees what is going on within us. We have to do all we can to be sure that we treasure His presence within us.
We are sons and daughters of God. Every person has dignity. Every one of us is chosen by God. We cannot sacrifice the freedom we have in Jesus Christ to the evil of the world. We cannot allow ourselves to be enslaved by sin. Jesus came to free us from sin. His deepest love is expressed on the Cross- a sacrificial love.
Someone asked Mother Teresa, "What will we be judged on?" She responded, "I believe that when we die and the time comes for us to be judged, God will not ask how many good things we did in our lives, but only with how much love we did them."
Anointing During the Mass: Pope John Paul II designated February 11th Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, as World Day of the Sick, “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering and reminding us to see in our sick brothers and sisters the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of humankind”. In our cluster, we will be praying for people who are sick among us and also all those who work in the field of Health Care on the weekend of February 22/23, 2020. At these Masses, there will an opportunity to receive the anointing of the Sick. Thank you.