6th Sunday Year A
Theme of the week: Relativist world view or Christian world view – it is our choice, a choice between “life and death”.
In this relativist world that we live in, as it is claimed, there is no absolute truth. Truth is in the eye of the beholder – nothing is objectively right or objectively wrong, not even in the realm of morality. Hence, under the relativist world view, the concept of sin does not exist.
In contrast, under Christian teachings, moral laws are absolute truths. God lays down a way of life of us to follow so that we may lead fulfilling happy lives. These are God’s Commandments. The Greek word for “sin” is hamartia, meaning to “miss the mark”. Hence to sin is to miss the mark on God’s Commandments. In the Gospel this week, Jesus teaches us on three of these Commandments, each time beginning with “you have heard that” (verses 21, 27, 33) and refining the common understanding by saying “but I say this to you” (verses 28, 32, 34).
- On the 5th Commandment “Thou shall not kill”, Jesus teaches that harbouring ill-thoughts against another is a form of killing (verse 21-22).
- On the 6th and 9th Commandment “Thou shall not commit or habour any thoughts of adultery”, Jesus teaches that lustful thoughts are a form of adultery (verse 27-28).
- On the 2nd Commandment “Thou shall honour God’s name”, Jesus teaches that one should not swear (verse 33-37). Invoking God’s name in a malicious context, such as taking a false oath, is to ask God to be a witness to the malicious intent – a great disrespect to God.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul spoke of lust and unnatural sexual acts (Rom 1:24-27) and “every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious towards parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Rom 1:29-31) In spite of these, under our contemporary wisdom, sin is unspoken of. Even in our churches, sin is not often mentioned in sermons and homilies. Under the guise of inclusivity, diversity and respecting the feelings of others, we are discouraged from pointing out the immoral behaviour of another person. As Christians, we must make the important distinction between the sin and the sinner. We must love the sinner but never condone the sin. When we reject sin, the relativist world accuses us of rejecting the sinner. This week’s Scripture passages challenge us to reject such “wisdom” of the relativist. Such wisdom, as explained in the Second Reading, “are doomed to perish” (verse 2). Instead, we seek God’s wisdom, “secret and hidden” (verse 7) from the world, “which God decreed before the ages for our glory” (veese 7).
As explained in verse 15 of the First Reading, whether I accept God’s teachings or the teachings of the relativist world is entirely up to me. Whether I choose fire or water, life or death, is entirely a matter of my free will (verse 16-17). By extension, it is I who choose between Heaven or Hell – not God. Our God is a loving, merciful and forgiving God, He does not cast anyone to Hell. God “has not commanded anyone to be wicked, and he has not given anyone permission to sin” (verse 20). It is our unrepentent sinning, our persistent rejection of his moral laws that cast us to Hell – it is I and I alone who can cast myself to Hell. That is why the relativist world view is so dangerous. Like a child playing with matchsticks, it may look fun, it may feel like freedom – for a while. For when the house is burnt down, it is too late.
My brothers and sisters, if you are sudduced by the relativist world view, it is never too late to turn back, never too late to repent. Remember, “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (Second Reading, verse 9). May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen us. Amen.