6A20. Sirach 15:15-20. Life is at once a spectacular gift and a threatening challenge. Choose well and live an unimaginably wonderful eternal life; choose poorly and experience a hell beyond any words or nightmares. “Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.” God “is mighty in power, and all-seeing.” “He understands man’s every deed.” God is love. If we reject God, we reject love and shall live forever an existence that is utterly loveless.
Matthew 5:17-37. Matthew’s chapter 5 is written to contrast the Mosaic law-filled covenant of the Old Testament with the Christ-filled covenant of the New Testament. What the Torah or Law commanded is surpassed and fulfilled by the requirements of a life in the Holy Spirit. Matthew’s chapter 5 finishes with the new command that summarizes the whole chapter: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In Matthew 5:17b-18, Jesus says, “I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” Through his crucifixion, resurrection and kingship in heaven, all things have taken place and the purpose of the former law to make us holy has been fulfilled. We read in Hebrews 5:7a, 8-9, “In the days when he was in the flesh, Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” The law of the Old Testament is rendered useless because now all salvation comes through Jesus and no longer through the law. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18b, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
1 Corinthians 2:6-10. The all-knowing God has a wisdom that is beyond anything that this world can fathom. God uses his wisdom to work together with his love for us so that we will one day be brought to share in his divine glory. From Isaiah 64:3 Paul takes: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” that what “this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” So great is God’s love that he wished to share it with those who would freely choose to love him more than anything else and despite the fact that we had other seductive choices. To love God and his will with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and all our strength (Mark 12:30) is to embrace God’s eternal love for us.