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6th Sunday A

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Dear brothers and sisters,

We cannot be holy if we are mediocre and minimalistic.

Fr. Cielo

Published in: Spiritual
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6th Sunday A

  1. 1. Welcome to our BibleWelcome to our Bible StudyStudy 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time A 12 February 2017 In preparation for this Sunday’s Liturgy As aid in focusing our homilies and sharing Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM
  2. 2. 1st Reading: Sirach 15:15-20  15 If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. 16 There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. 17 Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. 18 Immense is the wisdom of the LORD; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. 19 The eyes of God see all he has made; he understands man's every deed. 20 No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies. The focus is on making wise choices (decisions).
  3. 3. 1st Reading: Sirach 15:15-20  15 If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. 16 There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. 17 Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. 18 Immense is the wisdom of the LORD; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. 19 The eyes of God see all he has made; he understands man's every deed. 20 No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies. Commentary  The reading comes from the Wisdom Writings.  It teaches us how to be wise.  V.15 says that if we so desire / decide, we can obey God’s commands. Obedience is a sign of loyalty to God.  V.16 teaches us about two opposite choices. Whenever we choose, we always exert tremendous effort.  In v.17, we are faced with two realities: life and death. We can have life, if we choose life.  Vv.18-20 describe God’s wisdom:  Immense, v.18  Powerful and sees everything. V.18  Sees all, understands our deeds, v.19  Does not make you sin, tell lies, v.20
  4. 4. Reflections on the 1st Reading  It is our decision to be wise.  In life, we are always confronted to make a choice.  If we are in our right mind and senses, we make wise decisions.  We do not decide to go for evil.  God’s laws help us to decide.  How do you make decisions, like getting married, going abroad, entering a convent, investing a lot of money?  Do you seek counsel?
  5. 5. Resp. Ps 119:1-2. 4-5. 17-18. 33-34  R. (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!  1 Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart.  4 You have commanded that your precepts be diligently kept. 5 Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes!  17 Be good to your servant, that I may live and keep your words. 18 Open my eyes, that I may consider the wonders of your law.  33 Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. 34 Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.
  6. 6. Resp. Ps 119:1-2. 4-5. 17-18. 33-34  R. (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!  1 Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart.  4 You have commanded that your precepts be diligently kept. 5 Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes!  17 Be good to your servant, that I may live and keep your words. 18 Open my eyes, that I may consider the wonders of your law.  33 Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. 34 Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart. Commentary  The psalm is classified as wisdom psalm.  V.1 extols those who keep God’s commands. They are happy.  V.2 says the same to those who seek him (pray to him for guidance).  In v.4, the psalmist is aware that God wants his precepts to be followed.  In v.5, the psalmist prays that he may be strong in following God’s commands.  In vv.17-18, the psalmist prays to God to show favor to him, to keep his words and law.  In vv.33-34, the psalmist prays for guidance and discernment (good judgment) that he may keep the law.
  7. 7. Reflections on the Psalm  The psalm teaches us what to pray for:  guidance and strength, to keep God’s laws.  We, Christians, rather pray for favors like landing a good job, good health, etc.  We seldom pray that we may do what is right and just.  No wonder, even if we pray a lot or go to mass everyday, we can violate God’s laws that easy.  The content of our prayers must exhibit that we are serious in keeping God’s laws.  If we have high moral standards, it is highly possible to land a good job and accomplish things without fouling up.
  8. 8. 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10  6 There is, to be sure, a certain wisdom which we express among the spiritually mature. It is not a wisdom of this age, however, nor of the rulers of this age who are men headed for destruction. 7 No, what we utter is God's wisdom: a mysterious, a hidden wisdom. God planned it before all ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age knew the mystery; if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 Of this wisdom it is written: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 Yet God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Spirit. The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the deep things of God. The focus is on divine wisdom.
  9. 9. 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10  6 There is, to be sure, a certain wisdom which we express among the spiritually mature. It is not a wisdom of this age, however, nor of the rulers of this age who are men headed for destruction. 7 No, what we utter is God's wisdom: a mysterious, a hidden wisdom. God planned it before all ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age knew the mystery; if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 Of this wisdom it is written: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 Yet God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Spirit. The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the deep things of God. Commentary  St. Paul talks about God’s wisdom.  In v.6, Paul clarifies the kind of wisdom he is talking about:  Wisdom for the spiritually mature  Not a wisdom of this age or corrupt rulers  In v.7, Paul describes it as:  mysterious, hidden  It was there before time. It is destined for our glory.  In v.8, Paul goes back to v.6. The rulers of this age were not aware of it.  A sign that they were not aware:  they crucified Christ.  In v.9, God intends this wisdom for those who love God, not just for anyone.  In v.10, Paul says that we, Christians, have known this wisdom. Lucky are we!  We have known it through the Spirit that scrutinizes everything.
  10. 10. Reflections on the 2nd Reading  We should possess God’s wisdom.  We can have it if we love him.  God’s wisdom is not free for all, not that cheap.  It is something that is destined for us, lovers of God, for our glory.  Meaning, this wisdom will accompany us to heaven.  Wisdom of this earth, like having business and political acumen, knowing a lot of data and information, tactics and strategies, is something else.
  11. 11. Gospel Reading: Mt 5:17-37 or 5:20- 22a. 27-28. 33-34a. 37  20 Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of God.  21 "You have heard the commandment imposed on your ancestors, 'You shall not commit murder; every murderer will be liable to judgment.‘ 22 What I say to you is: whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.  27 "You have heard the commandment, 'You shall not commit adultery.‘ 28 What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts.  33 “You have heard the commandment imposed on your forefathers: 'Do not take a false oath, rather, make good to the Lord all your pledges.‘ 34 What I tell you is: do not swear at all; 37 Say, 'Yes' when you mean 'Yes,' and 'No' when you mean 'No.' Anything beyond that is from the evil one. The focus is on holiness.
  12. 12. Gospel Reading: Mt 5:17-37 or 5:20- 22a. 27-28. 33-34a. 37  20 Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of God.  21 "You have heard the commandment imposed on your ancestors, 'You shall not commit murder; every murderer will be liable to judgment.‘ 22 What I say to you is: whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.  27 "You have heard the commandment, 'You shall not commit adultery.‘ 28 What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts.  33 “You have heard the commandment imposed on your forefathers: 'Do not take a false oath, rather, make good to the Lord all your pledges.‘ 34 What I tell you is: do not swear at all; 37 Say, 'Yes' when you mean 'Yes,' and 'No' when you mean 'No.' Anything beyond that is from the evil one. Commentary  V.20 requires Christians to be more holy than the Scribes and Pharisees to enter heaven.  To be more righteous is to do more than what is prescribed in the law.  V.21 requires Christians not to be angry. Before it was OK to be angry as long as you do not kill the person.  V.27 requires Christians not to look at other people (opposite sex) lustfully. Before it was OK to do it as long as you don’t commit adultery with the person.  V.33 requires Christians not to take false oaths or mindlessly doing it.  V.34 requires Christians to be straightforward in their commitments.  Yes should mean Yes. No should mean No.  Christians should not give mixed signals.
  13. 13. Reflections on the Gospel  Christians should not be minimalistic in their responses to God’s challenges.  They should not be too legalistic in their observance of the law.  They should do more.  Christians should operate on a higher level of awareness and sensitivity.  To be holy, Christians must be creative.
  14. 14. Tying the 3 readings and the Psalm  The first reading exhorts us to be wise. We make God’s laws criteria in making decisions.  The psalm encourages us to pray for wisdom that we may do only what is right.  The second reading exhorts us to work for God’s wisdom, not for human wisdom.  The gospel reading exhorts us to be holy, to practice faith to the maximum. We can focus our homilies and sharing on being holy. Wisdom is a path to holiness.
  15. 15. How to develop your homily / sharing  Our goal in life is to become holy.  We cannot go to heaven if we are not holy.  Religious practices should help us to become holy.  We are missing the most important point of our religion if we do not understand what holiness is all about.  The readings should teach us how to be holy.
  16. 16.  The first reading teaches us that holiness is being wise, keeping God’s commandment.  We see it to that whatever we do, whatever we decide conforms to God’s laws. This is wisdom.  We don’t violate any of his commandments.  We make wrong decisions if we set aside God’s laws in the process.  There is no wisdom in following your own instincts.
  17. 17.  The second reading teaches us that we must seek God’s wisdom (to be holy).  We are not here only to be informed, to read newspapers, or, to be taught how to make a living.  We must, first of all, set our hearts and minds to God’s grace (wisdom) that will lead us to heaven.  If we are only after our material needs and immediate gratification, we cannot be holy.  We should seek higher values. That is holiness.
  18. 18.  The gospel reading teaches us that we should do more than just mechanically conforming to God’s laws or man’s interpretations.  To be holy is to pay attention to God’s heart, to exercise utmost sensitivity.  Christianity is not a preoccupation of rules, regulations and rituals.  It is more than that.  It is how we use our hearts when doing our jobs and dealing with our brothers and sisters.
  19. 19.  We may not be inflicting physical violence on others, but deep in our hearts, we may be  suspecting them to be thieves, blaming them for our woes, jealous of them, making them as sex objects, or instruments of enriching ourselves.  We cannot be holy, or come closer to God if we have no proper attitude towards our neighbors.  Holiness is establishing good relationships with God and with others.
  20. 20.  We cannot be holy if we harbor anger at our parents, brothers, sisters, or officemates.  The religious organizations or ministries in the church are supposed to help us become holy.  But if they become occasions for sins (like gossiping, competing for posts, politicking, slandering, talking against one another, against the church, against the priests, spreading lies, rumors and speculations), they should be demolished.  It is hard to be holy if there is too much negative energy and bad faith in our ranks.
  21. 21.  The Document of Vatican II (LG, 40) defines holiness as:  fullness of Christian life and perfection of charity.  We must learn fully the teachings of Christ, in the Bible and in the Church.  We cannot be holy according to Christ’s terms, if we are ignorant of him and of his Church. (No wisdom)  We must exercise utmost charity in our ranks.  Knowledge of the Bible and of our faith, all those formations are useless if we lack charity and respect.
  22. 22.  Those who lack charity  bulldoze, bully people to get what they want  use abusive language (uncouth)  delay, always late in coming  do not give a single penny or centavo to the church (stingy)  don’t pay their dues to their organizations  enjoy parties without paying anything (riders)  don’t share in the responsibilities/burdens  They should not be allowed to lead our committees or ministries. They have attitude problems. They are not holy.  Are you holy?
  23. 23.  The eucharist is the sacrament that makes us holy.  The eucharist is for those who keep God’s words and who struggle to be holy.  The eucharist is God’s wisdom that leads us to heaven.
  24. 24. Our Context of Sin and Grace  Minimalistic  Lawlessness in the church (anything goes)  Does not follow liturgical laws or too much concern  Robot Christians, follow orders, not knowing why  Schizophrenic Christians (very tender and loving to their images and statues, but cruel to their brethren)  Making fun of old people  Uncharitable  Keeps the rules of his/her organization  God-fearing people  Bible Study, Bible Sharing  Willing to learn who Christ is through the Scriptures and Theology  Helps in gift-giving, distribution of relief goods  Spirituality of Stewardship  Gives tithes  Sends children to school
  25. 25. Suggested Songs  Happy is the Man  Happy the Man  Beatitudes  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkUOyrXUhQc
  26. 26.  Dear brothers and sisters,  We cannot be holy if we are mediocre and minimalistic.  Fr. Cielo

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