Thought for 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 12, 2017)
MATTHEW 5:20-22A, 27-28, 33-34A, 37
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with brother
will be liable to judgment.
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
But I say to you, do not swear at all.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”
In our culture today, many people do not like to talk about objective truth and obedience to commandments. We want to follow our own hearts and do what we want to do. Relativism is rampant. We don’t want anyone imposing their truth on us and we don’t want to believe that there is any such thing as objective truth.
And yet Jesus is telling us today that there is a right and a wrong way to live. He did not come to abolish the law of the prophets, but He came to fulfill them. Jesus wants us to go to the root of our sinfulness so that we can live in His truth and find peace and joy.
By saying, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,” Jesus is pointing to the commandments. Not only are we not to kill, but we are not to be angry with anyone. The Lord calls us to look into our hearts. Most murders do not just happen at the spur of the moment. Often anger and resentments stirs in one’s heart for a long time and then eventually a drastic step is taken in murder. That is why Jesus wants us to look at our thought processes. Am I angry with someone? Do I seek revenge? Am I having a difficult time forgiving someone? Go reconcile with that person and then return to the alter to receive Communion.
In a similar way, adultery was always forbidden as a serious sin. Now Jesus is asking us to look to the root again. If we look at someone with lust, we have committed adultery in our hearts. What is lust? It is looking at someone as an object for the purpose of my sexual pleasure. We lose track that this is a person, a daughter or son of someone. We can ask the Lord to help purify our hearts and see everyone as a beloved son or daughter of God.
Finally, Jesus asks us to be people of integrity. May our ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and our ‘No’ mean ‘No’. In other words, may we be people whose word means something. When you promise someone that you will do something, do you keep your word? My father taught us how to be men of integrity. Everyone in town knew that his word meant something. If he said ‘Yes’, you knew that he would fulfill his promise. Jesus is the ultimate teacher of integrity.
Is there someone in my life that I need to forgive?
Do I need to purify my thoughts?
Do I treat other people like objects of my own pleasure?
Am I a person of integrity?
Have a blessed weekend!