God summons us to a radical way of living.
We are called to be more than just moral: God invites us to be virtuous.
We become virtuous by habitually choosing to do good.
Naturally, we are not perfect, however God calls us to reflect on how we live and to understand what has gone right and wrong for us. Such reflection can lead us to insight that will help us to live better – be virtuous – in the future.
Therefore, by reflecting on our experiences in the light of our faith, we grow in wisdom.
The author of today’s first reading, Sirach, affirms that God knows every human action; St Paul reminds us that God has many riches for those who love him; and Jesus, in Matthew’s Gospel says that he has come not to abolish but to fulfil the Law and the Prophets.
What we see clearly in the readings today is that there are repercussions, and consequences – good or bad – for all our actions.
Our challenge is to avoid the opportunities that do harm and to choose what directs us to God.
Sirach, the Psalmist, Paul and Jesus embraced this way of life; they are examples of how it is possible for us to become virtuous and wise. If we take to heart their messages from the readings this Sunday, we too, like them, will be true beacons of virtue – people of faith, hope and love.
If you have ever been to a circus or a carnival of one sort or another, you may well have walked passed what is known as a “distorting mirror”.
They are a popular attraction.
Instead of a normal plane mirror that reflects a perfect mirror image, distorting mirrors are curved mirrors, often using convex and concave sections to achieve the distorted effect. The result is you look much taller or shorter, much fatter or slimmer!
It is not you, however, there is enough of you to capture your attention, for you to pause, and, if there is none nearby, for you to pull a funny face and make the image of yourself more distorted still.
This image of the “distorting mirror” came to mind as I read this Sunday’s Gospel.
Just two Sunday’s ago we read from St. Matthew’s Gospel what are known as the Beatitudes, (Mtt. 5: 1 – 11). Often referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount”. The Sermon on the Mount is the very blueprint for the Christian lifestyle, and most scholars see it as the best summary of Jesus’ teaching.
If you have a New Testament that is in the form of columns, sitting in the column next to these wonderful blessings is today’s Gospel passage, and it is like you have walked past a “distorting mirror”.