Catechism Conection
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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A 2017

Catechism Connections
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Cycle A
Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm 119: 1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; 
Matthew 5:17-37
This weekend, we celebrate the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time and we celebrate the Law.  All the readings and the psalm are about the Law and understanding how to observe the law in our hearts with spiritual maturity.  The Gospel from Matthew contains the extended discourse from the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus describes that he has not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it and as he describes it, it seems as if this New Law is “bumped up a notch”.  Now we are not only not to kill, we are not to even get angry with our brothers and sisters.  We are now not only not to commit adultery, we are not to even look with lust at another.  Jesus is going to the root of the problems and cutting them off before they develop into sin and break the Law, for the Law is the glue that binds us to covenant with God.  Matthew is the first Gospel in the canon of the Christian Testament and as such it is the connecting device that ties the Hebrew Scriptures to the Christian Testament.  Our Matthean author and community go out of their way to show us that Jesus is indeed fulfillment.  The Infancy Narrative and the Passion Narrative of this Gospel serve as bookends with five discourses in between to mimic the five books of the Torah.  The Good News is the new Torah.  In the Infancy narrative, we remember the story of Moses’ birth reenacted in the killing of the innocents when Herod comes after Jesus just as did the Pharaoh come after the Hebrew babies.  Moses ascended to Mt. Sinai to receive the Decalogue on two tablets and in Matthew, Jesus ascends the Mount to offer the Beatitudes to the crowds.  The entire emphasis in Matthew’s Gospel is that Jesus is now the long awaited Messiah, the fulfillment of every hope.  When Jesus grows up and starts preaching the Good News, he takes on the Pharisees, even though he comes closest to being most like the Pharisees in interpreting the oral Law.  While the Sermon on the Mount is the first discourse, and the other four include instructions for missionary disciples (ch. 10), the parables of the kingdom of God (ch. 13), on sincere discipleship (ch. 18) and on the end of the present age (ch. 24-25), in chapter 23, Jesus let the Pharisees have it for exacting too much of the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit that lies beneath the law.  “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” is repeated over and over.  In The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 581, we hear more about the role Jesus assumed as teacher, or Rabbi of the New Law. 
From the Catechism:
581The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi.  He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law.  Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs, but taught the people “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”  In Jesus, the same Word of God, that had resounded on Mt. Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes.  Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving it its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heard that it was said to men of old…..But I say to you…..”  With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were “making void the word of God.” 

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