Obey and Be Truly Happy

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The WORD in other words (2023) by Fr. Jong Biton, SVD — Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For the Israelites, obeying the law of God makes one truly happy (cf. Psalm 119). However, as the law was passed on through generations, some Israelites have not only found a way to avoid or evade it, but also their notion of happiness was reduced to mere compliance to the letters of the law.

The Gospel today comes on the heels of Jesus’ teachings on the beatitudes – a teaching that proposes a new way of being happy. It teaches happiness as something experienced not only by obeying the law but also by being poor, merciful, peace-loving, meek, mourning, etc.

Jesus, however, is quick to clarify that he does not intend to abolish the law. Instead, he comes to fulfill it. He reminds them that obeying means more than just its external observance; it is a matter of inner disposition. It is complying with the right motivation. It is not just about “not killing” but being reconciling. It is not just about “not committing adultery” but not having impure thoughts. It is not just about perjuring but about commitment.

So today, we are challenged to either obey the Lord with proper motivation and be truly happy in life or disobey and suffer death to a relationship with others and God. “Before you are life and death, whichever you will choose will be given them.” (First Reading) 

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