What brings you to life?

February 12, 2023 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021223.cfm)

What motivates and inspires you? What fulfills your day? What brings you to life? Depending of our status, situations and circumstances in life, our answers may vary from God, family, children, wife or husband, community, our career or business, our passion and advocacies, our dreams and aspirations.

There is always a reason why we get up in the morning and continue to live on. We get inspirations from people around us, and that keep us going. For many of us, it is very important that at the end of the day we feel fulfilled in life. However, when we find ourselves unfulfilled and unsatisfied, we feel disappointed or depressed or even feel angry at ourselves or towards others.

Consequently, it is also important that we are aware of those that motivate and inspire us. By being able to know the reasons why we do things, why we do sacrifices and make decisions, why we commit and give ourselves, then, these help us to become grounded and mature in our relationships.

On this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, allow me to journey with you through the readings that have been proclaimed to us and together let us discover how the Lord invites to find what really motivates and inspires us and what brings us to life.

The readings we have this Sunday are all talking about God’s commandments and the call to become obedient to God’s commands. Our childhood catechesis would remind us that for us to go to heaven then we have to follow the commandments of God or else we shall be damned in hell. Fear of being terribly punished is usually instilled into our minds.  Well, let us rather look at these fundamentals of our faith at the level of a mature relationship with God.

Let us start with what the Book of Sirach tells us. Sirach reminds us that God’s commandments are not meant to restrict and enslave us. These are also not detrimental to our human freedom and knowledge. The commandments of God are rather to bring us to the fullness of life, to God’s Divine Self. Sirach says, “if you trust in God, you too shall live.” Trusting the Lord, then, means being able to uphold and follow God’s commandments.

Moreover, though “God’s wisdom in immense, he is mighty in power, and all-seeing,” yet, the Lord never imposes that power on us or threatening us just to obey the commandments to love. God rather gives us freedom to choose to love freely, to choose God freely and to choose life freely.

Though Sirach reminds us again to “fear the Lord,” however, “fear” here is not about the “fear of being punished” so that we obey just as a child obeys a parent because of fear of corporal punishment – of being hit or scolded. If our “fear of the Lord” remains at this level, then, it means that our faith and relationship with God has not grown to maturity.

Fear of the Lord is an attitude of deep respect and reverence to God. Thus, fear must come from the knowledge and belief of the possibility of being away from the grace of God, away from the fullness of life. This will only happen when we choose freely what is evil, choose not to love, thus, not choosing God.

Yet, God does not want us to be away from him, away from his love and from the fullness of life. God desires that we freely, knowingly and consciously choose the Lord, choose to love and choose life. These should rather motivate and inspire us as individuals and as a community of believers because as the Psalm proclaims today, “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.”

Likewise, Paul also tells us that God’s wisdom is mysterious and hidden, yet, the wisdom of God has been “revealed to us through the Spirit.” The person of Jesus, his whole life – is God’s wisdom revealed to us. Again, Paul tells us that having the Lord in our life and in every decision we make in life should be the reason behind and the power that inspires us. This is what the Gospel of Matthew wants to tell us as well. Jesus who is God’s manifestation of wisdom, is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets that basically nurtures our relationship with God and with one another.

In the Gospel, we have heard an argument between the Jewish leaders and Jesus. They thought that Jesus abolished the Law and Prophets, which composed the whole tradition of their people. For them, the Law and the Prophets, and all those teachings were the fundamentals of their faith. The commandments written in the scriptures motivated them to live as faithful Jews.

However, Jesus himself denied that he abolished the law and the teachings of the prophets and the whole tradition of the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus is actually the fulfillment of the promises in the whole Hebrew Scriptures. The person of Jesus is the very inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures.

But then, the Jewish leaders missed the whole point. They were not able to recognize Jesus, as the true inspiration. They focused more on themselves, on what they can gain, on their privileges and influences over the people.

This happens also to us when we think that our achievements, influence and power over others, and our titles are our main inspiration and that having them is our motivation; when we believe that pleasing people around us will make us fulfilled or satisfying our every selfish desires will make us truly happy and contented. Nevertheless, these will only make us anxious, fearful and more unsatisfied.

We are rather called to ground ourselves to the most important part of life, and that is, our relationships. These include our relationship with God and with one another, with our family and friends, organizations and communities. God’s commandments are given to us to essentially nurture, cherish and develop our relationships with each other and with God. Thus, to freely choose to love, life and God are the very areas where we are called to find inspiration and motivation. Choosing away from these would lead us rather to be separated from grace which will ultimately make us to hurt and cause pain to others because of our selfish intentions.

Thus, for all of us, we are called to mature and be grounded with our relationships, and most  essentially with the Lord. Allow ourselves to be taught, to be molded and to be inspired through our experiences in our relationships may it be in our families, friends, or special someone. Allow those relationships also to be the space of God to reveal the Divine presence in us. With that, we shall surely find true fulfilment in life as we follow God’s commandments. Hopefully, we will be animated by Jesus who gives us life and fulfills our life. Kabay pa.


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