Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CELEBRATING THE GIFT OF RELATIONSHIP

By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

In our Gospel today, Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Righteousness is best understood as “right relationship”. In other words, unless we are in right relationship with God, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is a fitting Gospel as we prepare to celebrate, culturally, Valentine’s Day. I know many people struggle with the kind of day Valentine’s Day has become, but I actually think it is worth celebrating a bit more than usual this year. After all, it can only help to recognize a little bit of love in our world and that we are called to be in relationship with one another! As an Archdiocese, this is also a weekend when we recognize and celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. But here at St. Basil’s celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage is something we do far more often than people may know at first glance. Over the past few years, we have worked hard to redevelop our marriage preparation program in the spirit of Amoris Laetitia and are now increasing the number of sections in the course due to popularity.

While the course covers things like communication and conflict resolution; it is first focused on the spiritual lives of the couple. You see, to be in “right relationship” means that our first focus is our own holiness and the holiness of others. It means that the people with whom we are in relationship are gifts to us, given by God, so that we may become the people we are called to be. But I have also learned that so many times, the “gifts” of relationship are received indirectly as much as directly. That is to say, the encouragement and the criticisms are both part of our path to holiness. Since, in the end, “dying to self” means the death of our ego, should we be surprised that marriage is often such a strong corrective to the images we carry of ourselves? So let us give thanks to God for those with whom we are in relationship; especially those who bring us closer to God!

Sunday’s Readings:

Sirach 15.15-20

1 Corinthians 2.6-10

Matthew 5.17-37