12 February, Sunday – Obeying God in this world and the next

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecc 15:16-21
1 Cor 2:6-10
Mt 5:17-37

“If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away…”

As Catholics, we often find ourselves existing in two dimensions of reality. On the one hand, we live in an increasingly secularised society that views religion with either suspicion or derision. On the other hand, we also try our very best to live our spiritual reality as faithful disciples of God. Certainly, both are important to us. But it is also true that both tend to pull us in opposite directions. This is all the more so for those who have been baptised as adults, like me.

Being the first and only baptised Catholic in my family, my relationship with elder family members has become increasingly strained with every year that passes. It has also become increasingly difficult to talk about issues that matter to me, but which may not be acceptable by the general cultural milieu of the times, such as my pro-life stance or the sanctity of marriage and family. And hence I exist in a strange duality of sorts, engaging in polite conversation about things of little importance with friends, relatives and colleagues, but praying together with my faith community about our eternal fellowship with God. It is a difficult duality to navigate.

As the old song goes, “Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool. Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules”. It is indeed not possible to love both worlds. As today’s gospel reading emphasises:
If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away;
for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell.
And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away;
for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

Our obedience and faithfulness to our Lord may sometimes require that we stand firm against views that contravene our beliefs or efforts to sway our faith in God. We must be brave and not fear derision. As Jesus has told us in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:1-10). Just as Jesus chose obedience to God even until the point of death, so too must we choose obedience to God at the risk of persecution and derision.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Jacob Woo)

Prayer: Lord, we ask for the strength and grace to continue living out Your will. May You continue to provide us with the spiritual sustenance necessary for being Your faithful disciples.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank You for your Word and Your wisdom. We thank You for being there always, yes even during the hard times.

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One thought on “12 February, Sunday – Obeying God in this world and the next

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  1. Thank you. I just read this, and wanted to share with you

    I don’t know the secret to happy families, any more than Adam and Eve do. After their family heartbreak, they move on, one son dead, one a restless wanderer, while another child is born. They keep going. They accept the good in the present tense. Maybe that’s today’s lesson, that, like Jesus with the arguing Pharisees, sometimes we have to sigh deeply and leave a situation where we can’t win. We’re best to get back in the boat and go off to another shore. Maybe that’s where we’re called. Maybe that’s where miracles happen. I do believe that God expects us to keep trying to do this thing called love.

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