Choosing wisely and living by the values of the Kingdom are the key phrases that help us to focus on this Sunday’s message. The opening verse in the first reading says, “If you choose, you can keep the commandments, they will save you.”
God gives us both freedom and responsibility. The wise choose life, not death. They choose love, peace and forgiveness not hate and revenge. Choice is always before us. We choose to relate with others wisely by respecting boundaries. St. Paul, in the second reading, describes this choice in terms of either opting for human wisdom or God’s wisdom. If we choose God’s wisdom, we become the best version of ourselves; we live by the values of the kingdom. When we choose human wisdom, we end up being foolish and blaming ourselves.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus addresses several moral issues. On the issue of murder, Jesus calls us to choose to be persons of peace and compassion. It means being a person of forgiveness. Unless one forgives, anger continues to build up until it erupts.
Another issue that Jesus addresses is the new law of marital relations. Jesus calls us to make the choice to live married relationships in fidelity. For Jesus, marriage is part of God’s plan, reflecting God’s fidelity to the chosen people. A married relationship is to be a place of safety, nurture and honour, not a place of violence, dishonesty and destructiveness. By forbidding divorce, Jesus calls for a reconciled relationship between husband and wife, instead of living in a situation of submissiveness or warfare.