Saturday, February 12, 2011



FEBRUARY 13, 2011

Sir 15:15-20 / Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34 / 1 Cor 2:6-10 / Mt
5:17-37 or 5:20-22, 27-28, 33-34, 37

SIRACH 15:15-20
If you wish, you can keep the commandments and it is in your power to
remain faithful. He has set fire and water before you; you stretch out
your hand to whichever you prefer. Life and death are set before man:
whichever a man prefers will be given him. How magnificent is the
wisdom of the Lord! He is power ful and all-seeing. His eyes are on
those who fear him. He knows all the works of man. He has commanded no
one to be godless and has given no one permission to sin.

Brothers and sisters: "In fact, we do speak of wisdom to the mature in
faith, although it is not a wisdom of this world or of its rulers, who
are doomed to perish. We teach the mystery and secret plan of divine
wisdom, which God destined from the beginning to bring us to Glory. No
ruler of this world ever knew this; otherwise they would not have
crucified the Lord of Glory. But as Scripture says: Eye has not se en,
ear has not heard, nor has it dawned on the mind what God has prepared
for those who love him. God has revealed it to us, through his Spirit,
because the Spirit probes everything, even the depth of God.

MATTHEW 5:17-37
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not think that I have come to annul
the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to annul them but to fulfill
them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the
smallest letter or dot in the Law will change until all is fulfilled.
So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and
teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the kingdom of
heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to
do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you then,
if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of
the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You
have heard that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit
murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell
you: whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face
trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought
before the council. Whoever calls a brother or a sister "Fool!"
deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to
offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has
something against you, leave your gif t there in front of the altar,
go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your
gift to God. Don't forget this: be reconciled with your opponent
quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will
turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who
will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the
last penny. You have heard that it was said: Do not commit adultery.
But I tell you this: anyone who looks at a woman too lust fully has in
fact already committed adultery with her in his heart. So, if your
right eye causes you to sin, pull it out and throw it away! It is much
better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole
body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it
off and throw it away! It is better for you to lose a part of your
body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. It was also said:
Anyone who divorces his wife, must give her a written notice of
divorce. But what I tell you is this: if a man divorces his wife,
except in the case of unlawful union, he causes her to commit
adultery. And the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
You have also heard that people were told in the past: Do not break
your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you
this: do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are
God's throne, nor by the earth, because it is his footstool, nor by
Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great king. Do not even swear
by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Say yes when you mean yes, and say no when you mean no. Anything else
you say comes from the devil.

One of the charges frequently brought against Jesus by the religious
leaders of his day was that he violated the prescriptions of the law.
Of course they were referring to the laws handed down from Moses and
was interpreted by the scribes and Pharisees.

Many times we saw Jesus go against the law. When he cured the sick on
the Sabbath, he was not observing the law of the Sabbath. By sitting
down with sinners and sharing meals with them, Jesus was violating the
law as interpreted by the religious leaders. Jesus and his disciples
were criticized by the Pharisees because they did not carefully follow
the religious prescriptions about washing their hands before eating
and other such prescriptions. We may get the impression that Jesus was
a habitual law breaker or that he did not respect the law. And yet in
today's Gospel reading we hear Jesus telling us that he did not come
to abolish the law. He even admonishes us that he is concerned about
the smallest letter of the law. Was Jesus consistent? How does Jesus
want us to understand his message of this gospel passage? How can we
put together what may seem to be a contradiction between what Jesus
said and how he acted?

The apparent contradiction is resolved by a very important distinction
with regard to religious laws: the distinction between the external
letter of the law and the internal spirit of the law. To merely
observe the external letter of the law while not observing the
internal spirit of the law is actually violating the law by robbing
the law of its real meaning and significance. An observance of the
mere external letter of the law without paying attention to the inner
meaning of the law may seem to be a correct observance of the law but
actually it is violating the law by not observing its purpose.

When we examine those occasions when Jesus seemed not to observe the
law, we see that in all instances what Jesus was doing was very
carefully observing the intention or meaning of the law. Jesus was
showing that without observing the inner spirit of the law, which is
always for the good of people, the mere external execution of the
law's prescriptions is empty of the religious meaning for which the
law is given. In other words, over all the various laws with their
rules and regulations, love of God and neighbor is always the supreme

That is why Jesus speaks to us in today's Gospel reading not just
about observing the law or laws but about fulfilling the law. Yes,
Jesus has come not to abolish the law but to live the law according to
its real meaning. That is what is meant by fulfilling the law. And it
is in that sense that Jesus tells us that our holiness must surpass
that of the scribes and Pharisees. They were very much concerned about
following all the rules and regulations externally, but they were not
so concerned about observing the spirit which gives the real meaning
of the law. So, with a very clear conscience, Jesus is able to show
that not all laws and regulations are of equal importance. Surely, he
would follow even many external prescriptions of the law, but whenever
there was a conflict between the less important observance and the
more important observance, which is the observance of love, he would
fulfill the supreme law of love. And by his example he "explains" what
today's Gospel message is for us as we try to be people who
religiously fulfill the law. The paradox is that if we merely observe
the externals of the law but do not observe the inner spirit of the
law, we actually abolish the law! And Jesus has come not to abolish
but to fulfill the law.

We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Mary Balilla
- Bong Lacida
… for the personal intentions of
- Cherie Torres
- Josheil Dapo
… for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Gabriel dela Cruz
- Joel, Fabio
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Jasper Tiu
- In Memoriam (+): Tong Ai Lei
… for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!


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