The Sixth Sunday of the Year

Ecclus 15:16-20; 1 Cor 2: 6-10; Mt 5:17-16 (year a)

 ‘Open my eyes that I may consider the wonders of your law. Teach me the demands of your statutes and I will keep them to the end. Train me to observe your law, to keep it with my heart.”

The prayer of the psalmist bears touching witness to the centrality of the Law in Israel’s understanding of her relationship with God. The Law, and its faithful observance, was something more than external observance. It was a matter of the heart, an inner humility leading to communion with the living God.

The author of the Book of Ecclesiasticus understood God’s Law in this way. For him, to observe the Law was to choose life. To depart from the Law was to choose death. His understanding differed radically from many contemporary understandings of law and regulation. Here a culture that is centred on self resents any curtailment of its imagined rights.

St Paul, offering a wisdom for the mature, a philosophy not of our age, spoke of something quite different. He spoke of the hidden wisdom of God entrusted to those who are in communion with Christ. Such wisdom reaches beyond every selfish instinct, beyond what eye has seen and ear has heard, bringing us to all that God has prepared for those who love him.

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