Lectionary Reflections: Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a] February 12, 2017

Engaging Faith | Tue, Feb 7, 2017

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Education for Justice

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

February 12, 2017


Sirach 15:15-20

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

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



February 11: International Day of Women and Girls in Science 

February 11: World Day of the Sick (also feast of Our Lady of Lourdes)

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 17: Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 20: Presidents' Day

February 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.

— Homily of Pope John Paul II in Glasgow, 1 June 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, 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.

— US Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, 116

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, 7 September 2013

May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life. … May nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.

— Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2017



Thoughts for Your Consideration

“Before us are life and death, good and evil.” ~ from today’s first reading from Sirach

It has been a challenging month for the United States as we have dealt with so many issues as President Drumpf and his administration have announced so many decisions and executive orders. So many issues challenge us to reflect on our values – not just personal values but values as a people, as a community.   How will we provide quality health care for all our people?  How we become a community that works to bring an end of racism and other forms of discrimination?  How we respect the dignity of the LGBT brothers and sisters?  How will we welcome immigrants and refugees?  How we will create a nation that works for peace and nonviolence in our relationships?  How do we work to protect our planet and all its creatures? Answers are never easy.  The challenges are real.  However the call of Christ is clear in our scriptures and especially in 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 – into relationship.
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 same applies to how we treat the creation God has given us to share.

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

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