Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

2 Cor 3:15—4:1, 3-6
Mt 5:20-26

One unfortunate trait that we share as human beings is the tendency to judge other people. We know we aren’t supposed to, we know that judging is wrong, after all, we can’t possibly know the all of the circumstances surrounding another person’s behavior. We may judge them harshly, then, when we learn their story, we realize we were hasty in our harsh judgment of that person. We do this very thing with the Pharisees when we read about them in scripture. Jesus was always after them wasn’t he? So why shouldn’t we think they were bad people? Yet the very beginning of today’s Gospel has Jesus saying, “If your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” If your righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees, implying they must have had some righteousness. They were, after all dedicated to keeping the law as completely and as well as they could. That isn’t a bad thing. What Jesus wanted them to know, wanted us to know, is that just keeping the letter of the law is not enough. We must exceed the law. Jesus goes on in the Gospel to say that if you hate, you have broken the law, if you hold a grudge, you are breaking the law. To enter the Kingdom, we must read more than the words on the page, we must go beyond them. Jesus tells us if you go to offer your gift at the altar and realize you have a problem with someone that needs to be resolved, go and resolve it, before you approach the altar. You go, you make the first move, do not wait for the other person to act, act first. Work to bring about reconciliation, even if you don’t think it is your place to act first. As a follower of Jesus, it is always our place to act first, to seek reconciliation, so that we follow the letter, and the spirit of the law, so that we keep the one commandment Jesus left us, love one another. Love is the only way we can keep the law, the whole law, letter and spirit. Act in love, then we will be doing the one thing that God asks of us, “to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Deacon John
Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of St Anastasius of Cordova, Deacon and Martyr
June 14, 2007