Our readings today challenge us to make wise choices and observe the laws given by a loving and caring God.
In our first reading from Ecclesiasticus we are told that to keep God’s commandments and to behave faithfully towards him in all matters is within our power. God never forces us to do good or evil. We are told we can choose freely to put our hand into fire or water.
Saint Paul challenges the people of Corinth that they should appreciate the wisdom of God’s saving plan for his people revealed to us through the Spirit.
Jesus tells his disciples that he has not come to abolish the law of the prophets but to complete them. The scribes and the Pharisees regarded themselves to be the greatest upholders of the law. By keeping all the outward observances, they believed that they were at one with God. Jesus was aware of that so tells those listening today that if their virtue goes no deeper than that of the Pharisees they will never get into the Kingdom of heaven.
There is a message here for each of us. We may feel that coming to mass each week is all that’s required of us. We can be like the Pharisees believing that if we pray daily and give to charity we are righteous. But righteousness is not something we earn – it is something we receive through God’s grace which allows us to say ‘Yes’ to him when we are tested in all matters of faith.