Life is a sum total of choices. Any one’s success or failure depends on the choices one makes. Sirach’s sermon today is about choosing the commandments, trusting in God, acting in faithfulness, which are matters of one’s choice. He points out that fire and water, life and death, good and evil, etc., are place before us and choosing from these is also left to our freedom, which is a gift of the Creator to humans – freedom
to choose! (Sirach 15:15-18) Right choice is the work of wisdom.

St. Paul is speaking wisdom to the mature. The mature is a class by themselves and becoming part of this class also is left to our choice. Right choices lead us to glory. Jesus gives the true meaning and interpretation of the law, commandments and regulations and they are there to be obeyed and fulfilled. His interpretations are in contrast to that of the Scribes and Pharisees, who just looked into the letter of the law and not to its meaning and purpose.

Jesus is very firm in his instruction, which tells us that obedience of the law as he defines is going above the righteousness of the Pharisees and the Scribes, which is also a matter of choice for us; the choice is to go like the Scribes and the Pharisee or to surpass their righteousness so that we may be in the righteousness designed by God and that we be truly the children of God. Jesus, St. Paul and Sirach are united in the position that every choice we make has consequences, which could be good or bad, salutary or leading to perdition.

Jesus is laying before us an action plan in our living and dealing with our lives in relation to our brothers and sisters as children of one and the same Father. Jesus does make demands on us; but he does not make any demand beyond what he had gone through, what he lived and experienced and what he had endured. To be with him and for him or not is ultimately our choice!

Fr. George