February 12, 2017 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Instagram. Snapchat. Twitter. Texts. Skype. Face Time. Calls.

These apps are awesome. These are some of the ways I can get a message across to someone. They help me connect and communicate. They let me reach out to people who matter. They let me express the real me.

Yet these cool apps should never be seen as ends unto themselves, but as ways to express our desire/need to be connected to others and to let people know our real selves.
Today’s readings focus a lot on the Commandments. Now if a person just looks at the Commandments alone, they can think, “I don’t like to be told what to do, it’s a bunch of limits; they are so negative.”
But in some sense, I think we can compare the Commandments to some of our favorite ways to communicate.

I read somewhere that the average person takes at least half a dozen selfies before picking one to post. We all want to put forth our best selves. From the Israelites in the desert, to the Jewish people in Jesus’ time, and even down to our time, we can wander in the “wilderness” of our restlessness, relationship drama, and the stresses and challenges of life. When we wander, it is easy to get lost in our journey with God. We don’t feel or look our best and can make poor choices.

I think God gives us divine tools (the Commandments) to show us how to communicate our truest, most real selves. God shares in wisdom and love the best ways to connect and communicate, to reach out, and to express our real selves…to Him and to other people.

God shares with us His heart in the Commandments. The Commandments are like apps that help us form our best attitudes that respect God, life, relationships, possessions, commitments, and time.

We know that God communicates His truest self to us through Jesus. In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus shed light on the spirit in which we need to see the Commandments. It’s as if Jesus wants to “update” or “upgrade” our understanding of the Commandments. He explains to the Jewish people, and to you and me, that the Commandments aren’t a list of checkboxes that will get us into heaven. They aren’t restrictive “don’ts” or “thou shalt not’s”. The letter of the law means nothing without the spirit behind it. Jesus really challenges us to look at the “heart of the matter” – what are we really trying to communicate when we follow the Commandments? The best self. A living image and likeness of God, Who is love.

“Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.” (Responsorial psalm) May we use the Commandments to be our best selves before God, one another and everyone.

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