Sunday Reflections

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY

8th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A) Matthew 6: 24-34                 February 26, 2017

“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”

Every now and then we hear in the news that a newborn child has been found abandoned only few hours after the birth, and thanks to the tenderness and compassion of some people has been taken to a hospital to save the infant´s life. Our first feeling is, “How can a mother do such a thing and be without human sense of respect for her infant´s life?” What we hear, in this day and age might sound incredible, we sadly realize is truth. For the prophet Isaiah, even if it could seem unbelievable too, was possible for human beings, but never for God.

Other cases are not as criminal but still merciless. A teenage mother, after a couple of weeks of her son delivery, carefully took the babe to a hospital entrance hall making sure that the infant was fed and warm enough in the baby basket. When she left the baby behind, the security guard saw her and called the police. Being asked by the authorities the reason for that irresponsible action, the mother argued that she was a single-parent and afraid of not having the resources to take care of her child.

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY

Seventh Sunday O. T. (A) Matthew 5: 38-48 - February 19, 2017

“Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfect in him”.

 

Once, in a country where death penalty exists, a murderer was condemned to the capital punishment. The warden left the death chamber and walked through the jail. A convict from across the aisle shouted, "Who is the murderer now?" We know that among those who support capital punishment, there is a high percentage of them who seek revenge for deeds done by the criminals. The very well known law of “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” belongs to the Hammurabi Code and it was not as bad as we think today. According to William Barclay, Hammurabi lived 2300 years before Christ. It was prescribed to limit revenge; before its existence, if someone would kill a person, his family and friends could kill not only the murderer, but also his whole tribe. Hammurabi says, “The only one to be punished is the perpetrator. His punishment is to be no heavier than the wrong he committed”.


In last Sunday Gospel we heard Jesus citing the Scriptures four times, and adding, "But I say to you..." He goes beyond the demands of the law, to perfect it, and then tells his followers to avoid unnecessary oaths, divorce, anger and lust. The original Hammurabi’s code, Jesus quotes in today’s Gospel, was only a call for moderation. But Jesus goes beyond moderation. "I say to you, offer no resistance to the one who is evil." He tells us that if someone strikes one's cheek, we should turn the other as well. This saying could be misinterpreted. It has caused people to accept an abusive situation. Do you remember what Jesus himself did when the temple guard slapped him? Jesus did not strike back, but he asked, "Why did you hit me?" (Jn 18:23)

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY

5th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A) Matthew 5: 13-16                 February 05, 2017

“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life (…) You are the light of the world.”

Once a Chemistry teacher asked her student what was the definition of salt. He immediately answered, "Salt is what one puts in the French Fries and makes it tastes so good." Salt, the chemical substance resulted from sodium and chloride, has been extremely important to human beings for thousand of years, since it helps to preserve and season food and avoid the dependence on the seasonal availability of food, especially when refrigeration had not been still invented. Yet salt was not easy to obtain and as a result it was very costly to the point of being a way of currency by some peoples. Today, however, salt is easy to obtain and relatively cheap. At the time of the Old Testament, salt was used to purify the new born babies, and was added to animal sacrifices, and to make covenants.

Jesus uses two metaphors today in his teaching, he says, “You are the salt of the earth,” and then, “You are the light of the world.” In our contemporary world the light metaphor is easier to understand but to accept that we are the salt of the earth, we should be in the context of Jesus´ time, when salt was so valuable. Then he added, “If salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” First of all Jesus shows how valuable his disciples are and how they are called to preserve the value of his Gospel among the world and the people they live with.

6th Sunday in OrdinaryTime (A)

BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY

6th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A) Matthew 5: 17-37                 February 12, 2017

“Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

When a star-player of a football or a soccer team gets an injury as a result of a bad accident, and has to undergo surgery, right a few months before the Super Bowl or the Fifa Soccer World Cup, his fans all over the country and the world send him messages of encouragement, like “Courage, friend. You are going to make it,” hoping that he would get better soon, and do his best in his treatment and therapy, and be able to play for the finals. People´s expectations about their heroes are high, and often times very demanding.

In the Old Testament Scripture, respect and love for the law was extremely important. To observe the law was the foundation of wisdom. The wisdom of Sirach sets before us life and death, which means good and evil. The choice is up to us. The responsorial psalm reminds us today that the one who follows the law of the Lord is blessed. The option for Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthians is deciding on human wisdom or God´s wisdom.

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY

Fourth Sunday O. T. (A) Matthew 5: 1-12a - January 29, 2017

“Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven”.

 

Every person, under sound normal conditions, wants to be happy, strive for happiness, and wishes to others happiness. At the beginning of a new year we wish to our family and friends a happy new year; for special occasions we wish to others a happy birthday, anniversary, or feast day. But happiness is elusive. We try to be happy, but we do not always agree on what happiness is. It is like having different tastes for hobbies, food, or music.

 

Jesus teaches us what happiness is and how and when we can achieve it. Probably we have heard Jesus teaching, but we have missed the real meaning of what he proclaims. We hear today the beginning of the Sermon of the Mountain, in Matthew 5, that we call the beatitudes, from the Latin word beatus, “happy”. These beatitudes are not commandments, but “tips” Jesus gives to us in order to be happy. Jesus tells us today: “Be glad and rejoice, for your reward will be great in heaven.” The beatitudes are “the owner’s manual” Jesus gave to each of us at Baptism, and these beatitudes refer to the world we live in and not the life hereafter.

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