CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on February 16, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:17-37

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

30af499b38e0335cf3edc4ad452e9a15_w600“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; and whoever says to brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“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. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful – causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“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; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus comes not come to change what God has taught Israel but to unlock its deepest meaning. His message is that a rigid adherence to the letter law, strict behaviors that precisely check every box but without a heart that breaks, is not what God intended when God gave Moses the Law. It is not enough that we don’t kill; what God desires of us is a spirit of continuing reconciliation. It is not enough that we don’t commit adultery; we are to cultivate a deep appreciation of the humanity of each person. It is not enough to have the freedom to divorce; we are to care about each other enough to understand the consequences to others of our decisions. Our integrity as Christians is to be so great that our word is a sufficient bond. Christian adherence to the Law is not about checking behavioral boxes; it is a heartfelt religion that puts the good of the other above my own well-being.

Spiritual reading: When we look back on our own little lives, if we can manage such retrospection honestly, we can rejoice in what we have been given. We can trace the path winding away behind us and chart the bumps in the road, the times when darkness fell before we had reached the day’s stopping place, rembrandt-headofchristthe times when we ploughed through snowdrifts, the times when we fell either painfully or with a total loss of dignity on the ice. We can see all the places where we took a wrong turn, all the places where we received generous and unexpected hospitality. We can see how the walk strengthened us even if, when we reached the end, we were worn out and quite ready to cross the second great threshold. We can see ourselves clearly, maybe for the first time. (Margaret Guenthe)

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