February 16, 2020 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021620.cfm)
A number of times I was asked: “Do you believe in chain letters?”
I said: “Generally I don’t trust anything that offers promises or threats with an IF –(meaning, with conditions) you do or don’t this or that. In my book, deserved gifts are called prizes or salary, but underserved gifts are called Grace and blessings. God’s grace is not something we do to God, but what God does to us.
Just be the better Christian person, as you choose and can be, not as what others (in chain letters) want you to be.”
For the past Sundays, we have been hearing about the public ministry of Jesus where he proclaims to us the Good News of God’s salvation. In his preaching, Jesus basically calls us to change our ways, good or bad we may be, for God is with us (Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand). He then in Beatitudes makes known to us how blessed we who are meek, humble, merciful, righteous and sensitive enough to welcome God’s blessings into our lives (Blessed are you…). He also reminds us that much as we are blessed, we are also a blessings to others (You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world). Wow, what a good news indeed to us. In a nutshell, we need to change our life for we are already and always blessed and a blessing to others, since God is with us and his Kingdom is at hand. This is the very core message of Jesus ever since and until now as being always proclaimed to us and by us, His Church.
After always hearing, reflecting and knowing Jesus’ good news of God’s salvation for us, what now? Somehow we wonder as to how to gratefully respond to and live out such great blessing into our lives. How can we remain, endure and persevere in living with Jesus’ gospel in our day to day living? Like, Now what are we to do to respond and be converted and practice His gospel into our lives?
Definitely for Jesus, it is more than just keeping the Ten Commandments or observing the Torah, the Law of Moses. In our gospel today, we hear the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus wherein he directs us how to live in the good news of God’s salvation. By reviewing and commenting on the Torah, which is the Jewish standard of righteousness, Jesus reorients people that there is far better in His message of God’s salvation than just observing the Law of Moses. He reiterates that God’s kingdom is more than just the practice of not killing, not committing adultery, and not making false promises. God’s kingdom is more so and all about respecting life, reverence for people’s union – making marriage sacred, and living life with integrity. For Jesus then, to live in His message of God’s salvation is not a matter of just practicing and observing but more so fulfilling the Law of Moses. Here Jesus is upgrading the Jewish Law of Moses into His message and mission of teaching, preaching, sharing, and witnessing the values of God’s kingdom in our lives. An Upgrade from Torah to the Spirit of Jesus.
Important here is the consistency between our being and our doing now as Christian. In a way, Jesus is teaching us that our actions must reflect our being now as blessed and blessing people. In other words, Be consistent with who you are now with what you do, as Christian.
Meaning, far beyond the practice (living out) the values of God’s Kingdom, there must be spirituality. For Spirituality is the “because I am” of the “why”s in life, i.e. “Why I do this or do that?” “Because I am…”. Spirituality is thus the spirit behind the action, the meaning behind the practice. (I work abroad because I am a family person.. I take care of sick people because I am a nurse/doctor. I attend Eucharist every Sunday because I am Catholic Christian). What matters then is not just about the practice and behavior but also the spirit behind the practice and behavior (not only about what we do but why we do it), knowing that ours is a grateful response to what God does and doing to us, (and not like chain-letters, what we may do as bribe or payment for His graces, & what others expect us to do).
Perhaps you may reflect about your spirituality. Why you do what you do? Be in touch with the meaning and spirit behind your actions. Pray that you be a better blessed and blessing Christian you choose and can be, not as others may want you to be. Pray also that our actions be a response to what God does and is doing to us rather than as what we do to Him.
And in doing so, may we remain salt of the earth and light of the world, and become His blessed and blessing witnesses to our today’s world. Amen.
Shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR – a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary in South Korea