From Here to Eternity
In today’s First Reading Sirach reminds us that our life, from here to eternity, is built on our choices. The Lord created us as free beings, but with freedom comes responsibility and consequences. We always have to “own” what we have done and what we have failed to do, which is why we make a Penitential Act at the start of every Mass. Sirach doesn’t just remind us today that we’re free to choose; he encourages us to make the right choices.
God’s Commandments reflect God’s wisdom, and that not only makes them good choices, but the best choices, even if sometimes in the uncertainty of faith we have to trust in God in making His choices our choices.
In today’s Gospel Our Lord teaches us that all the commandments have a purpose and reflect a wisdom that can shape our lives for the better if we choose to observe them from the heart. In His discourse He is also calling out those who observe the commandments superficially and without heart. The play actors. Those who wants to look good!!
A common recurring defence today for a watered-down life ethic is, “hey, at least I’m not killing anybody.” Our Lord reminds us that not killing anybody is good, but we have to go way beyond that if we don’t want to be Pharisaical. When we can say, “hey, at least I don’t hate anybody,” we’re getting closer to the mark.
In a violent world maybe sometimes we look the other way in the face of a lack of kindness, but Our Lord today reminds us to go the distance and not only not kill anybody, but to actually be kind to everybody. When tempers flare and rash words are said the best thing to do, as Our Lord teaches, is to try to make amends as soon as possible and simply apologize. If we live a life of cruel and cold justice, focusing especially on the justice due to us, we’ll be in for a surprise when the eternal Judge brings us to “court” by the same harsh standards to which we held others. As Our Lord’s prayer reminds us, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Our Lord teaches us that chastity doesn’t start at home but starts in the heart, your heart and mine. The eyes are the windows to our soul, and if we start ogling and fantasizing a radical response is needed if we are to preserve our chastity and keep our hearts pure, since no one can intervene regarding the hidden desires of the heart except ourselves with help of Christ’s grace.
Our Lord reminds us that making a promise or giving testimony is a powerful thing. The promises we make give witness to who we are, and the witness we give is a testimony to how seriously we take our promises.
The easiest way to be sincere, as Our Lord reminds us today, is simply to be sincere. Let’s trust His ways, honour His Word, Ways and Commands and show that we are His friends, disciples and His people. Let who’s you are shine out from here to eternity.
Fr David Jones OLW