Gospel Reflection Feb 12 – Deacon Petrill

Sunday, February 12

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5: 17-37


Jesus said to his disciples:

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

I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,

not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter

will pass from the law,

until all things have taken place.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments

and teaches others to do so

will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.

But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments

will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses

that of the scribes and Pharisees,

you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,

You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.

But I say to you,

whoever is angry with his brother

will be liable to judgment;

and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’

will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;

and whoever says, ‘You fool,’

will be liable to fiery Gehenna.

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,

and there recall that your brother

has anything against you,

leave your gift there at the altar,

go first and be reconciled with your brother,

and then come and offer your gift.

Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.

Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,

and the judge will hand you over to the guard,

and you will be thrown into prison.

Amen, I say to you,

you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,

You shall not commit adultery.

But I say to you,

everyone who looks at a woman with lust

has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If your right eye causes you to sin,

tear it out and throw it away.

It is better for you to lose one of your members

than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.

And if your right hand causes you to sin,

cut it off and throw it away.

It is better for you to lose one of your members

than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,

Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.

But I say to you,

whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful –

causes her to commit adultery,

and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,

Do not take a false oath,

but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;

not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;

nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;

nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

Do not swear by your head,

for you cannot make a single hair white or black.

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’

Anything more is from the evil one.”

Gospel Reflection:

Ash Wednesday will be here on February 22, so Lent is right around the corner! We sometimes approach the upcoming Lenten season by loading up on the things we plan to give up—making sure we savor that morning coffee we won’t be drinking or that piece of candy we won’t be eating, and so on.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with “getting things out of our system” if they are not harmful or sinful, but the Church also asks us to intentionally prepare for Lent. We are called to look into ourselves, our lives, and our relationships to find the places where we need to turn back to God.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to look deeply into our hearts. Do we keep God’s commandments? Are we truly righteous? Do we harbor resentment or anger towards our brothers and sisters? Are we faithful to our spouses at the deepest parts of ourselves? Are we radically truthful and say what we really mean or do we cut corners to save face, potential embarrassment, or future difficulty.

The truth is that if we have the courage to accept God’s invitation to look deeply into ourselves, we will find the places where we need to heal. Let us pray with confidence that Christ will lovingly accompany us and bring us even closer to him.

Deacon Stephen Petrill