Homily For The 6th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year A

Christ’s Law: Fundamental Option For Life And Happiness

Readings: 1st: Ecc 15: 15-20; Ps 118: 1-2. 4-5; 2nd: 2Cor 2, 6-10; Gos: Matt 5:17-37 

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, or canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.


Today, the church invites us to reflect on the law of Christ. She urges us to pay attention to what she teaches us. The law of Christ is a divine law. However, it is not opposed to natural law. It is filled with wisdom and gives life to those who are faithful to it. It is a product of God’s love for us. Hence, obeying it is a fundamental option for life and happiness.

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In today’s first reading, God presents us with two options, “life and death.” In other words, He gives us the freedom to choose: “If you wish, keep His commandments…Man has life and death before him, whichever he likes, will be given to him.” God created us out of his love. To guide us in life, he gave us his Law. Also, he gives us the freedom of choice. To make decisions and choices in life, he also gave us reason to guide us.

Hence, God makes it clear that whatever choice we make in life has its consequences. If we choose to obey his laws, we shall be happy. However, if we make the wrong choice, we shall reap its fruit. Hence, the psalmist reminds us, “They are happy who follow God’s Law.” This means that as free beings, God never forces us. However, He encourages us to make the right choices by obeying his law, which gives us life and happiness. We often blame God for our mistakes, even when they are a product of our choice.

In the second reading, Paul refers to the law of Christ as wisdom. In other words, obeying the commands of Christ is the wisest thing to do. Hence, it is a mark of wisdom to live by the Law of Christ. Paul differentiates this wisdom from the law of Christ from that which comes from human philosophy. This means that the law of Christ transcends and supersedes the words of men. The wisdom that comes from the Laws of God is divinely inspired, whereas the wisdom of men is mundane and limited. Hence, Jesus says: “What is born of the spirit is spirit, and what is born of the flesh is the flesh.” (John 3, 6).

Today’s gospel from Matthew has provoked much debate among biblical scholars about what Christ meant when he says: “I have not to come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.” Jesus is right when he says this. The Old Testament stands firm, fulfilled, and has reached its perfection in Christ. The Greek word for “fulfill” is “pleroo.” It also means “to full” or “to complete.” In light of today’s gospel, it means to fulfill what was predicted in the Old Testament. Christ fulfilled the Law (Torah) through the sacrifice of himself. Therefore, He is now the fullness of the Law. To obey him is to observe the Law.

Therefore, Christ’s treaty was against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Sadducees of this present age.  This is because they interpret the law falsely to the detriment of the people. It is a treaty against fake prophets and teachers who falsely declare, “thus says the Lord,” to intimidate and exploit people. It is a treaty against those who make life difficult for others in God’s name while they have no regard for the law of Christ.

Finally, it is a treaty against the Pharisees of our time, who pay much attention to the letters of the law but neglect the Spirit of the Law. Christ came that we might have life and have it in full. He came that we might be free. He is the fullness of the Law and life. To obey him is to have life and happiness in full.

Peace be with you!



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