Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 20, 2011 – St. John’s, Goshen
With today’s Gospel we hear the last two of the solemn statements in which Christ explains what the greater righteousness is that will be required if one is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Once again, he goes beyond the minimum that a commandment might require and demands instead the maximum that love may desire. (more…)
Sixth Sunday of the Year – February 11, 1972 – CNR
“Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This sentence is a sort of sub-title for the Sermon on the Mount. It indicates the central meaning of Jesus’ moral demand, and the final purpose of Christian moral effort.
“Righteousness” is not a word we use often. In the Bible, it refers especially to the right-standing of man, that is, one’s being what one should be before God and man. It is not so terribly distant from modern terms such as authenticity or integrity of character. But, how is this “right-standing” determined or measured? (more…)
Fifth Sunday of the Year – February 6, 1972 – CNR
In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus use two similes to describe the role of the disciples in the world. They are to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” The latter image is the one stressed in the Liturgy by the use of the reading from Isaiah, where light is promised to Israel if she will turn to feeding the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and homeless, clothing the naked, assuring justice for the weak. The image of the salt is less often remarked. Originally, it was probably addressed by Jesus to the Jewish people as a warning: if they do not recognize the hour and the Messiah in their midst, they will be discarded as insipid salt. Matthew has placed it at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, as a warning to the disciples, who inherit Israel’s function in the world and therefore stand under similar judgement.
The images are good ones as an introduction to the Sermon in which Matthew has gathered the major portopm of Jesus’ moral teaching (and which we shall be hearing in the coming weeks). They suggest some reflections on our responsibilities as the Church in the world. (more…)
Feast of the Presentation – February 2, 2014 – St. John’s, Goshen
Today’s feast of the Presentation of the Lord is considered so important that it takes precedence over the usual sequence of Sundays. Traditionally it has been the occasion for the blessing of candles so that it is sometimes called Candlemas and is considered to bring the Christmas season to an end.
That seems to be the focus of the Gospel reading for which the reading from the prophet Malachi was chosen to prepare us, the prophecy that the Lord will come to the temple, “the Lord whom you seek, the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.”
The people so in wait, so seeking, are then personified in the figures of Simeon and Anna in the account of the manifestation of the Lord in Luke’s Gospel. (more…)