Jesus, giving his body up and pouring out his blood for us, shows us the love God has for us (1 Jn 3, 16; Rom 5, 8). So, we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Benedict cannot believe it when his sister, Scholastica, asks him to stay with her the whole night (Office of Readings). She wants that they go on until morning talking about spiritual things. And he answers, “What are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell.” Which goes to show that even the best among us sometimes forget that “love is above all rules” (SV.EN X:478). We thus end up serving the letter of the law (2 Cor 3, 6). And letting the letter kill us, we do not become brothers and sisters to one another.
But Jesus wants us to be loving brothers and sisters. After all, we are to call “Father” the God that he reveals. So, he upholds the spirit of the law and the prophets. That is, he brings them to fulfillment. He wants them to take root deep inside us. The righteousness that he seeks is beyond that of the scribes and the Pharisees.
And so, it is not enough that we do not kill. We are not even to get angry at anyone or engage in insults and name-calling. Not to respect our brothers and sisters makes meaningless the gift we bring to the altar. And we have to make peace with them before it is too late. Also, we men must not consider women below us. For they are as much image of God as we are. They are not things or possessions that we can get rid of at will. Brothers and sisters, too, should also be able to trust one another. Sadly, dishonesty and lies undermine trust. Our speech, then, whether yes or no, must be simple and plain. And wise in a way that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has felt.
Lord Jesus, you teach us that love of God, and of our brothers and sisters, sums up the law and the prophets. Let nothing stop us from being as radically and deeply loving as you want us to be. Make us learn “to leave God for God” (SV.EN IX:252; see also Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario, C.M.).
16 February 2020
6th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Sir 15, 15-20; 1 Cor 2, 6-10; Mt 5, 17-37