The First Reading comes from the Book of Sirach. In today’s verses, Sirach instructs the people of Israel to trust in God and keep his commandments, for they will be saved by doing so. Before man are life and death, good and evil, Sirach says, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Our salvation, and life itself, are certainly blessings from God. Choosing to follow the ways of the Lord leads to these blessings. In other words, obedience to God’s law as the road that leads to life, and rejection of his commandments as the way that leads to death.
The Second Reading comes from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. Saint Paul speaks of the wisdom of God: predetermined before the ages for our glory. Paul talks about a certain wisdom given to those who are mature in their faith and who desire to walk the straight and narrow path. It is wisdom revealed to us through Jesus and available to us as we live in the Spirit.
The Gospel Reading comes from the Gospel of Matthew. Today's Gospel continues Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, now addressing law, anger, adultery, divorce, and oaths. It is an extension of the Ten Commandments, with a little more detail for each of those, applying to interaction with others. Jesus emphasizes that the teaching of the law and the prophets has an internal aspect that surpasses the simple literal interpretation. For as Jesus says, whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.