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HomeHomilySunday Homily - 12 February 2023

Sunday Homily – 12 February 2023

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Also Read: Mass Readings for 12 February 2023 Mass Reading Reflection for 12 February 2023

Gospel: Matthew 5: 17-37

The Exodus is the history of God liberating Israel from the bondage of Egypt. The Lord repeatedly demands that His people be set free to worship Him. (Ex 5:1, 7:16, 8:1, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:3). God the Lord intervened in the history of Israel and Egypt in a decisive way so that the chosen people worship Him free. Thus, the purpose of securing freedom for Israel was to worship God freely.

But today Jesus is asking his audience to withhold from worshipping God; don’t bother to worship if you have a discord with your brother. If you are not free from the bondage of anger and hatred you are not worthy to offer any sacrifice; such offerings are just unacceptable. Slavery to anger, hatred, lust, and greed block us from worshipping God, far more than political slavery. The gospel we heard cautions us about such slaveries. Our prayers and worship do not matter if we are still slaves to anger, hatred, lust, greed, and the like. The God who intervened in a decisive manner to liberate Israel is still active and is calling for our spiritual liberation.  In fact, He has already paid the ransom and liberated us, but if we still choose bondage our prayers and worship are just a waste of time and resources.

Let us focus on the second theme, “Do not kill…” (Mt 5, 21). Jesus is icing the Old Testament command, ‘do not kill’; until then the command ‘do not kill’ was read as a passive command, asking men to refrain from the act of physical killing. Jesus is unveiling the active part of the command and thus fulfilling the laws and prophets of the Old Testament. Refraining from the physical act of killing alone shall not qualify to call oneself obedient to the law. It is an active command.

It is not enough that ‘live and let live’; it has to be ‘live and help live’. To live and help live, one has to restrain anger and kill hatred within. If anger controls you rather than you control anger, insults are bound to be part of your vocabulary. Those insults kill the esteem and confidence of many. Anger has killed so many beautiful relationships.

If anger is instantaneous hatred lasts long. It hurts you more than it hurts anyone else. It kills your health: physical, mental, and spiritual health. It kills your ability to love and forgive.

Hence, Jesus gives the command to reconcile. It is ‘reconcile and help reconcile’! “Therefore, if …you recall that your brother has anything against you… go first and be reconciled with your brother…”. His grudge against you is no more his problem alone, it is your problem too. God is ready to wait for a while. Your worship and offerings are not as important as your reconciliation with your brother. Worship is considered an insult to God if you are not in terms with your brother, sister, or neighbor.

Jesus started his mission by calling out, “repent, the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt 4:17). But today he adds something vital when he declares, “I tell you unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The Kingdom of God is so close, but unless we forgive one another and reconcile with everyone we are not going to make it.

Do you find it hard to forgive and reconcile? Jesus is there to help you. He forgave those who crucified him and went to the extent of praying for them. When we start to pray for those who have hurt us, we have taken an important step in reconciliation.

If you think it is too hard to forgive, seek his help, and try to learn from Jesus. Jesus is here to help you. Start enjoying worshipping God free from all sorts of slavery.


Fr. Bobby Joseph CMI
Fr. Bobby Joseph CMI
Hello, I am Fr. Bobby Joseph CMI, a Catholic priest belonging to the Indian Carmelite order, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), founded by three pious 19th-century priests: Fr. Thomas Palackal, Fr. Thomas Porukara, and St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara. Currently, I work as a missionary priest working in Peru. May God bless you all!

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