Lectionary Reflections: Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a] February 16, 2014

Engaging Faith | Wed, Feb 12, 2014

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

February 16, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern


Sirach 15:15-20

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Matthew 5:17-37 or 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37



Feb. 10 – 16: Random Acts of Kindness Week

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day

Feb. 17: Presidents' Day

Feb. 20: World Day of Social Justice



“Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated. For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely a recognition of the dignity and rights of one’s neighbor.”

- Bishops’ Synod, Justice in the World, 34


“Jesus proposed a new concept of living…. The new spirit is to be gentle, generous, simple, and above all sincere. To avoid being arrogant, censorious, or self-seeking. The disciples of the new Kingdom must seek happiness even amidst poverty, deprivation, tears and oppression. To aim for the Kingdom requires a radical change in outlook, in mentality, in behavior, in relations with others. Just as the Law revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, so, in this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the new Lawgiver, offers to all mankind a new way of life, a charter of Christian life.”

- Pope John Paul II, June 1, 1982


“The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who ‘does not know what his master is doing’ to that of a friend of Christ.”

- Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1972


“The vision of Christian non-violence is not passive about injustice and the defense of the rights of others; it rather affirms and exemplifies what it means to resist injustice through non-violent methods.”

- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, No. 116


“Mercy is the true power that can save humanity and the world from sin and evil.”  

- Pope Francis, Oct. 7, 2013


“God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire? Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts? Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations? And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?”

- Pope Francis, Sept. 7, 2013


“War is always a defeat for humanity.”

- Pope Francis Sept. 7, 2013 and Pope John Paul II, Jan.13, 2003


Thoughts for your consideration

Today we listen to more selections from the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus offers us an invitation to live by the highest moral standards.

Jesus invites us to go beyond laws and prohibitions to something deeper.

Jesus invites us to enter into a profound respect for all of our sisters and brothers.

Jesus invites us to move beyond the law into love.

Jesus invites us to be in community with one another.


The gospel today is not just about personal moral behavior.

It is about how we live together and work together as a community.

It is about how we live together as nations, as ethic groups, as corporations, as institutions, as people doing things together.


The gospel today invites us to treat one another with mutual care and respect. No person must be treated as an object, whether it is a sex object or a marketing object or a tool in a corporate plan for profits.


The gospel today invites us to active nonviolence.

We are called to put an end to the ways of and preparations for war and violence.

We are not called to be passive in the face of injustice and evil.

We are called to be active and to respond in love and respect for the other.


The gospel today is about engaging in the work of reconciliation.

This means taking the time to listen to one another. 

This means making the effort to understand others. 

This means forgiving others and ourselves.

This means working at the difficult challenge of community.


Pope Francis’ Twitter comment of Feb. 6, 2014 comes to mind:  “The world makes us look towards ourselves, our possessions, our desires. The Gospel invites us to be open to others, to share with the poor.”


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Jesus challenges us with a call to non-violence and respect for one another.

What can we do to put an end to the violence in our society?

Will control of guns do it?

Is some other change also needed?

  • What can we do to put an end to all the violence between groups and nations on the international level?
  • Will disarmament solve the problem?
  • Do we have to get out of the business of selling weapons to other nations?
  • Is some other transformation of relationships being called for?


Jesus talks about reconciliation with our sisters and brothers before we offer our gift at the altar. What does this mean for your local church community?

  • What does this mean for you?
  • What does this mean for your nation?


Jesus brings up looking at other people with lust.

  • How does this apply to our lives?
  • What do we do in our culture to stop making people into objects of lust?
  • What do we need to do in our society and in our media to show more respect to people?



A Cherokee elder sitting with his grandchildren told them, “In every life there is a terrible fight – a fight between two wolves.

One is evil: he is fear, anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, and deceit. 

The other is good: joy, serenity, humility, confidence, generosity, truth, gentleness, and compassion.”

A child asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”

The elder looked him in the eye. “The one you feed.”



Actions – Links

February 20 is the United Nations World Day of Social Justice.  Find out more at  

The Institute for Peace and Justice is an independent, interfaith organization that creates resources, provides learning experiences, and advocates publicly for alternatives to violence and injustice at the individual, family, community, institutional and global levels.  Explore its website and consider taking action at


“Crazy Facts”

* One in three people in the United States know someone who has been shot.

* On average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 140 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.

* Every day on average, 51 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 45 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.

* The U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.

* A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.


* World military expenditures in 2012 were estimated to have reached $1.756 trillion;

* This is a 0.4 per cent decrease in real terms from 2011 — the first fall since 1998;

* The total is still higher than in any year between the end of World War II and 2010;

* This corresponds to 2.5 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $249 for each person in the world;


* 129 journalists were killed in 2013 


Prayers of Intercession

Response: Blessed are they who follow the way of Jesus Christ.

For an end to the violence and murder that so dominate our world, we pray…

For an end to the sale and distribution of so many weapons of violence and destruction, we pray…

For an end to putting profits before a radical respect for people, we pray…

For an end to that greed and lust that treats people as objects for our selfish desires, we pray…

For an end to the selfish abuse of our environment, we pray…

For a spirit of understanding and respect among all people and nations, we pray…

For a deep commitment to the way of active non-violence, we pray…

For a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness in all of our relationships, we pray…

For the grace to forgive and heal, we pray…


Prayer - Meditation

We pray for all those caught up in conflict situations

“I shall break the bow and the sword and warfare, and banish them from the country, and I will let them sleep secure.”  Hosea 2:20


God of peace,

Show us how to put away the weapons of war

and help us destroy the tools of destruction.

      God of peace, may your kingdom come.


God of peace,

Teach us to follow the ways of justice

and walk with us the paths of truth.

      God of peace, may your kingdom come.


God of peace,

Challenge the weapons of war,

and banish hatred and division,

so that all your children may sleep secure.

      God of peace, may your kingdom come.


      Linda Jones/CAFOD


Find other prayer resources on conflict and peace at[]=prayer&_tag[]=on+your+own&_tag[]=pea...