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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Feb. 13, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

February 13, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Sirach 15:15-20

Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34

2) 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37

The Book of Sirach makes it clear, in this weekend's readings, that God gave his people an ironclad law that, if followed, would save them from sin and its consequence, death. In effect, it explains, following the law brings one to good; forsaking it brings one to evil.

So there's no mistake in what it means to follow God's law, the Book of Sirach points out that God commands no one to act unjustly and gives no one license to do wrong.

No one. Not even victims of evildoing. God's law is for the salvation of all humankind. If injustice is allowed for even one circumstance, it never will be overcome.

As a child of the Deep South, I've long been sensitive to the scars of racial injustice and drawn to the stories of people who worked to overcome it. Last fall, while traveling through Montgomery, Ala., I visited the Civil Rights Memorial.

There, inscribed on a wall overlooking the memorial fountain, was a line from a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

According to historian Taylor Branch in his book, "Parting the Waters," the speech was on the eve of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, when Rev. King first found his own prophetic voice as he prepared people for the protest.

In taking those words from the prophet Amos, Rev. King pointedly linked justice and righteousness. He was a true believer in the saving grace of God's law.

Rev.King told the gathering he wanted them to be seen by the nation as a Christian people, referring to the model of Jesus and admonishing them to nonviolence. "We have overcome that," he said.

"Justice is love correcting that which would work against love," he said. "If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong," he said.

Rev. King and his followers exemplified what Jesus details in the Gospel, that unqualified love and respect for others does not compromise God's law but fulfills it. Our task is to continue trusting God's law and living the details of love to overcome wrongs that work against love and bring suffering.


When was a recent occasion that you looked for guidance from the Ten Commandments in making a decision? How do you relate justice to love in your daily choices?


"If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live" (Sirach 15:15).


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