February 16: 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time; Readings: 1. Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm: 119a; 2. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37.
The wisdom featured in these passages of Scripture is straightforward and, therefore, quickly understood. Sirach, Paul and Matthew broach the topic with great simplicity.
So, in the first reading, choosing to live a good, holy and faithful existence proves to be the essence of Sirach’s wise words. The choice of living in faithfulness or sin is up to each individual. But the over-riding thought here is that God oversees our lives, willing the good for us all. Being able to grasp that is integral to our wisdom learning.
When Paul here addresses the Corinthians, he makes a distinction between worldly wisdom and the wisdom that comes from God, a wisdom revealed through the Word of God. What is revealed requires faith because it concerns the mystery of the crucified Lord and what God has prepared for all believers. This, in brief, is about a love that is shown and then calls for a response. Being able to see the power of heavenly wisdom set forth in these verses opens the way to eternal life.
In Matthew today, Jesus’ words come to us in a very stylised sequence of sayings. This pattern of speech uses a repeated formula to highlight Jesus’ personal, divine authority. That formula appears as ‘You have heard it said . . . but I say to you’. This makes it very clear that the wisdom spoken in these verses calls for a keen ear to hear these words properly and then implement the radical commitment they demand. This reinforces the fact that a choice has to be made concerning the good life God calls everyone to embrace every day.
When heard in all their simplicity, this Sunday’s readings speak a message that is direct, while reflecting the wisdom that God makes known to us through his revealed Word.