6th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A 15 FEB 14
I have not come to abolish the Law…but to fulfill it!
Sermon on the Mount 5: 1 – 7:2
The Context: Matthew….75AD….Antioch/Syria….mix of Jewish and Gentile…
Methodical: 5 great discources—Sermon on the Mount first of the five…
Today’s gospel….one piece of the sermon on the mount…occuring right on the heels of the Beattitudes!
Ancient Mediterranean world based on system of honor and shame vs us today where most of the world operates on an economic system of money and power….
That is an important distinction…
The Jesus of Matthews Gospel is speaking to an audience of Jews & Gentiles who are struggling with what the Law means and how do we live it?
So how do we bring it to 21st Century American life?
One way to summarize this section of the Sermon on the Mount would be to say this:
The Law is good and is given to us for good reason…it holds us to good and upright behavior….but there is more to holiness than just following the Law….there is something behind it…something greater than just the mere words of it. There is a Spirit that surrounds the Law.
There is more than just coming to Mass and saying prayers…..there is a relationship with God that needs to be fostered in our daily lives.
There is more than just believing that the world and society is or ought to be a place of Justice…we must build and live that justice so that the world can see there is more to it than words.
There is more to forgiveness than just apologizing to some one else….we must mend the breech of trust that happens when we offend another.
There is more to buying and selling things…. there is quality, integrity and honesty
There is more to every person in our lives and in our world….no one should be used, abused, discarded or shamed…human sexuality is a gift to be celebrated and honored how ever it is manifested in our lives!
There is more to than just doing things that show others that we are obedient to the Law….there is grasping and struggling with what it means to discover our weakness and develop new habits that change how we encounter each other and the world.
There is more than being kind and politically correct…there is the challenge to the integration of justice, right relationship and love in every aspect of our lives. There are principles, like congruence, integrity, openness and transparency.
The Good News is that Jesus saw all these things not as markers of judgement and condemnation, but as invitations to reflection and growth.
In all Jesus’s teachings there is always the possibility of redemption! If it were not true, then the Kingdom of God would only be for a very select few who probably never had to really live life!
AA says it most succinctly….we claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection!
I heard a wonderful insight into this whole notion just last evening. A gentleman shared this:
He said: I believe I am given new opportunities every day to experience my defects of character, so that I can choose to live in them differently!
That might well be our challenge this week! When we encounter life this week and we walk smack dab into the walls of our sin, maybe we can stop long enough to look at those experiences differently and respond in a different way because of this Gospel.
When the there is the temptation to destroy some one with our words or looks…maybe we can stop and maintain some silence.
When we have wronged some one, maybe we can go beyond the simple…I am sorry…to really repair the breech.
When we see injustice, we might stop long enough to confront it, speak our truth to it and help to change the course of history.
When the voiceless in our world are held in silence, maybe we can speak for them and thereby give them the courage to speak their truth as well.
Wow what a week this is going to be!