YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Theme: Obey God’s Word
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 5:17-37) Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel you can sense the intense concern of Jesus for us not to commit sins no matter how small. Not only were we commanded not to kill, but we must also try to avoid anger which may lead to murder; not to commit adultery but also avoid lustily looking at another person; not to commit false oaths but also avoid swearing. God had given us His commandments and they must be followed in full. When we had made our commitment to belong to the faith, i.e. to follow and believe the Lord, we do not falter nor waiver. Our “Yes” to God should mean “Yes” and no other. Otherwise, we will suffer the consequences. His statement on that is very strong and very clear, “…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.”
To the faithful and believer, these are common commands and statements. To those who are tentative and easily tempted, these are sources of struggles and, at times, failures and weaknesses. To the unbeliever, they mean nothing. Let us not talk about the third. I think the first ones are exceptional and thus need no explanations. Most of us belong to the second kind. We believe but we fail. The Lord Jesus knew us very well. Our weaknesses must be the very reasons why He does not want us to look only at grave sins but also try to master resisting and avoiding minor sins or anything which may later graduate to mortal ones.
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The last part of the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes ignored, is very important. Jesus wanted us to beg the Father to “lead us not into temptations but deliver us from evil.” It is easy to see the gravity of committing sins like killing, adultery, breaking an oath, etc. It is also easy to underestimate the power of temptations. Thus, we do not exert efforts to avoid them. In the same breath, we take for granted the so called venial sins. Maybe it was the Church’s mistake to even introduce the idea but it is never too late to realize that venial sins, especially when repeated, become spiritually lethal.
Jesus, in the Gospel, makes sure that we get the point. The point being – temptations and venial sins are as important to be taken seriously and avoided just like the mortal ones. In the eyes of God, sins are sins. Every sin, of whatever kind or magnitude, is a rejection of our relationship with God. God, in a manner of speaking, takes every sin personally. We are being warned to take heed.
How do we avoid sin? What helps can we have to aid us? We can begin by knowing and acknowledging our sin. That is basic. Know what causes them. If you can dispose them, like smuts, videos, or audios, etc., it will help a lot. Know where it usually happens. Avoid those places. Be aware of the person or persons which lead you to sin. Avoid them too. In the end, resistance and willing against them is what will stop us from sinning. Not only will we say “yes” and mean “yes” to God, but we must also say “no” and mean “ no” to sin. Ultimately, it is our love of God which will empower us not to commit them. In the Act of Contrition, remember not only “the pains of hell” but also, and more importantly, “dread the loss of heaven.”
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