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SIXTH SUNDAY ORDINARY TIME 2020

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard,
And what has not entered the human heart,
What God has prepared for those who love him.

These words from First Corinthians lead one to realize that the advances in human knowledge are not quite as eventful as we profess. Even with our accumulation knowledge, we cannot see what God envisions for us in our lives nor do we hear all his words when he calls. We think that we can express the meaning of love until we step back and see the immensity of God’s love for each of us. That love is of such depths that he directed his Son to sacrifice his life for us freeing us from eternal death.

In the secular world of today, many dismiss these words from First Corinthians and the Bible in its entirety as a set of fanciful stories that has its origins with the Jewish people, a misinformed group of people who did not have the understanding how the world works. We see ourselves as innovative as we accumulate and apply the wisdom of the ages. We look back into human history, proudly report on the insights of individuals such as philosophers and scientists that have shaped our perspectives of knowledge and human existence. We can provide examples of our capabilities like the electron microscope that images structures inimaginable minuscule as the components of an atom. We can exclaim our ability to send humans to the moon and the development of spacecraft that traveled beyond our solar system relay images back to us of other stars and planets.

Yet, when we compare our meager accomplishments to those of God’s in creating the world, we are unable to take the first step as in a baby beginning to walk. We cannot even stand alone without God’s hand there to keep us steady. We are as dependent on God as an infant is on its parents. When we try to go it alone in the world, in an instant, we fall to the floor crying for help calling on God to make everything right.

As humans, this reliance on God is difficult for us to accept because, in His infinite love, he gave us the ability to reason and then choose the course of our lives. We often do not make the right choice and sin. We, at times, act like a toddler in his or her “terrible twos,” demanding what we think will satisfy us and then having a temper tantrum when our desires fail to materialize. With our resistance to accepting what is good for us, we need God’s guidance to assure that we do not remain the spoiled child with unacceptable behaviors.

God, recognizing that people needed rules, to corral our sinful thoughts and actions, established the Ten Commandments, the Law of Moses. Even though Moses received these tablets of stone many thousands of years ago, the value of God’s wisdom in relationships has lasted through the ages. These ten simple directives focused on giving respect to God and each other.

Unfortunately, the Bible reports that the Jews continued to violate the Ten Commandments. Instead of redoubling their efforts to realigning their attitudes and desires to conform to God’s instructions, Jewish leaders sought to reinterpret the Law by adding specifications and identify punishments for the wrongdoers to correct human beings’ tendencies to sin. The Pharisees believed that through more stringent regulations, they could sanctify the people of God.

The Jewish leaders had become so entranced in following the letter of the Law with absolute precision and that they lost sight of the meaning of the law. God intended to express his love for all people by curtailing the indignities that one does to another with the identification of the Commandments. If humans followed the intent of the Commandments, instead of finding loopholes, there would be no need for any other laws. The message of the Commandments is clear – Love God and your neighbor, with no exceptions at any time.

Jesus comes to fulfill the intent of the Commandments. He has no plans to wipe away God’s establishment of the Ten Commandments. Jesus tells us in depths of your heart, love God and those around you. These simple relationships remain as valid as when God wrote them on the stone with his finger.

Jesus’ actions of performing miracles on the Sabbath, driving the moneychangers out of the Temple and identifying himself as the Son of God conveys his love for his Father and the needy, not retribution for sin. In his words of forgiveness and his deeds mercy, Jesus threatens the established religion of the Pharisees. His loving actions provoke hostile a response from the Jewish leaders. The Pharisees see these actions only as breaches of Jewish law that ultimately lead to his death on the Cross.

In the eyes of the Pharisees, one must live by the letter of the Law to prevent God’s punishing wrath coming down in retribution for violating the Law. Jesus does not threaten sinners with the fires of Hell. Instead, he pleads for us to reconcile our lives by an interior examination of our relationship with God and others. As we identify our faults, we can with confidence turn to the Lord asking for forgiveness and assistance in avoiding sin because of Jesus’ message of love.

Jesus says the cause for our sin results from prioritizing personal attitudes and desires over what pleasing to God. Our sinfulness comes from a failure to listen to our hearts by not accepting the love God has for us. Sin will grow in us unless we root it out by the prayerfully receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. One does not murder without first developing the passion of hatred. One does not perjure his statement without first considering what possible advantage he or she may have in lying. The rage that leads one to purposefully physically harm another does not appear out of thin air. Instead, anger spiraling upwards overcomes reason.

As a loving God, he will be merciful with those who seek his forgiveness. While we cannot avoid sin, God notices our attempts to change by our prayer life and the good deeds that we do in His name. If our life’s goal is not to seek out heaven, then our only alternative becomes Hell. Jesus wants us to enter heaven, but if we are determined to focus only on our earthly desires, then there will no hope of being with God in His Kingdom.

Jesus’ love for each of us is so tremendous that he became man, suffered and died on the Cross and was resurrected to show us the way to his Kingdom. We too suffer here on earth from our first breath at birth to the last breath exhaled at our death. Jesus was guaranteed life after death because he never wavered from the love for his Father and each of us. We too have that same opportunity to respond to Christ’s words and alter our lives for the good. We as humans have often failed to maintain our responsibilities to God and each other, as the Commandments require. Regardless God has not wavered in his love for us. Jesus promises heaven if we love God and our neighbor with our whole being.


Eye has not seen, ear has not heard,
And what has not entered the human heart,
What God has prepared for those who love him.



 

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