Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

The mystery of God’s plan for humanity is not so much about grasping for understanding as it is about being grasped by love. In today’s Scripture readings, Jesus breathes new life into old laws so that we can understand how deeply God loves us and how deeply we should love each other.

  • To the point: What does it mean for Jesus to fulfill the law? Jesus sees in the law the means to the fulfillment of time (“until all things have taken place”) when the law will be replaced by righteous relationships within the kingdom of heaven. The fundamental law is gift of self to others. When self-giving is lacking in any act of keeping the law, the law in fact is not kept. We are to keep the law as the way to enter a manner of caring for and relating to others that leads to fullness of Life. Our model for so doing is Jesus.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37) to the first reading: Keeping the law as an act of love is a matter of “life and death.” We have only to make the choice.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: We don’t choose to fall in love, it just happens. But staying in love requires constant choosing, that what just happened by chance and grace becomes pattern and commitment. The same is true for the fundamental law of self-giving, which is really a fundamental law of love.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew 5: 17-37)

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Jesus, let us comprehend the law:
justice, love and compassion.
Let the law make us holy.
Not like the Pharisees
who blow horns before they give anything.
You showed us with your every breath
just what it means to be holy.
You are the wonder,
the goal and the summit of the law.
Teach us. Turn all of our law-keeping into love.

The First Reading

(Sirach 15: 15-20)

Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given to him.

God of so much wisdom,
why do you let us choose?
Is it that you would like to be chosen?
Then help us always to want to do that.

The Second Reading

(1 Corinthians 2: 6-10)

What eye has not seen and ear has not heard.

What has true eye never seen?
Swimming trout in mountain streams,
scattered wildflowers on hillsides?
And what has true ear never heard?
Vivaldi, honking geese,
laughing babies, lapping waves?
And is there something
that the true heart has not known?
Glorious, intimate unconditional love?
We can’t begin to imagine
what you have prepared for us.
Thank you for your gifts already given.

— Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection