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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Feb. 12, 2023

Bishop’s Reflections

February 12, 2023

Every Sunday, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Feb. 12, 2023

Today’s Gospel continues a portion of the famous Sermon on the Mount, which is found in its entirety in Matthew chapters 5-7. In this great sermon, Jesus gives us an overview of what it means to live in God’s Kingdom.

What is Jesus telling us today? He is not abolishing the Old Testament law and prophets; rather, he is interpreting the Old Testament and expanding the coverage of the laws found there.

Jesus acknowledges that there is a law against murder. He is not abolishing that law, but that law, he says, must touch what is inside of us, our thoughts, our desires, and our consciences. He tells us that anger with our brother or sister is related to murder. He goes so far as to equate the two. This is hard for us to hear. It is even harder to put into practice, but that is the bar that Jesus sets for those who want to live in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus also says that adultery is sinful. Nothing new there, but he goes so far as to say that we must be faithful in our thoughts too. He is letting us know that adultery begins when the heart strays. Physical purity is dependent on spiritual purity.

In the Old Testament law, an oath was required on certain occasions, but Jesus wants us to be honest on all occasions. He says, “Let your “Yes” mean “Yes,” and your “No” mean No.” Honesty should be a practice that flows naturally from our thoughts to our lips.

Jesus wants us to look good on the outside, follow the law, but Jesus says that we must also look good on the inside. If following God’s law does not change our hearts and if our hearts do not make it easier to follow God’s law, then we have a way to go. As the second reading reminds us, “The Spirit scrutinizes everything.”

Of course, we are a work in progress, and the Lord is merciful. That is good for us to remember. Still, if we want to be citizens of the Kingdom that Jesus announces, we must strive to travel the high road of Jesus in body, mind and spirit.

Have a blessed week everyone.

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