It’s Up To You

by Fr. Ed Liptak, SDB

It is your choice. Choose light or choose darkness. Choose right or wrong. Choose heaven or hell.Choose God or choose Satan. This is the message in Hebrew of true Wisdom left by the elder Sirach for
his son, who passed it on to his own son then in Alexandria, Egypt. There the grandson of Sirach prefaced and translated his Grandfather’s Wisdom into Greek. Since the only copy of the Elder’s advice was
in Greek, it never entered the Jewish Bible. We Christians had no problem with that. We cherish the Book, and some have even suggested that it be considered a New Testament scripture, so much does it resemble the teaching of Jesus.

St. Matthew’s Gospel does in fact, quote Jesus who said that he had come not to banish the Old Law but
to fulfill it, and his saying is given in our Gospel passage this weekend: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.“ Jesus went on to insist that neither heaven nor earth will pass away before the tiniest speck of a letter passes from the Law. Furthermore, Jesus demonstrates that the Law says,

‘You shall not kill,’ but he says you break the Law even by being angry with your brother. Such anger and hatred itself can make you worthy of the fire of hell. He also implies, ‘Don’t even try to offer a gift in
atonement for your anger against your brother until first you go to him and seek to be reconciled. You do
the same with any of your opponents.
Jesus went on to give a more perfect interpretation of the sixth commandment against adultery, that we must apply it not only to the act of adultery, “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman
with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus may have wondered if they heard
him correctly, for he added that they should rather lose an eye, or an arm then allow them to cause sinful behavior. Not your Church, but Jesus taught a strict view of keeping purity for the Kingdom of God to be ours. Likewise, the strict law of divorce.

Jesus went on clarifying the role of Christian living as seen in the Beatitudes to keep us happy on earth
and forever happy in heaven. He expects to hear our ‘YES’ as he teaches us in his Gospel, and a ‘NO’
that means ‘NO’ to anything contrary from the powers of darkness. Only sin can keep us from heaven.