2 Corinthians 4:7-15; Matthew 5:27-32
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
“I am your servant, the child of your handmaid.. You have loosed my bonds.”
“But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
We are now in “Ordinary Times.” As we read through the very familiar fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel though, Jesus is asking us to be anything but “ordinary.” He tells us He has not come to abolish the Law (v. 17), indeed He calls us to go further than the written Law, the commands given to Moses. He asks us to go beyond our overt actions and pay attention to our thoughts, our motives, and our intentions. In today’s reading He tells us, “Do not commit adultery” not just in unfaithfulness to your spouse, but in how you deal with everyone! You are to keep your promise to a spouse in your heart, mind and actions. And you are to extend this same respect to your friends, to a bank, to God, to anyone, even your enemies!
In the United States the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated on Sunday. In other parts of the world it is celebrated today.
“…whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement.” Matthew 5:22
“…go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23
Jesus is trying to tell us that the commandment “Thou shall not kill” goes a lot deeper than just the act of taking someone’s life. It is in the heart that murder is first committed. Intention is what shapes the quality, the character and the morality of what one does in freedom. To hate someone is to be a murderer (1 John 3:15). When we no longer see a human being, or a group, or a class of people as images of God we are guilty of murder.
2 Corinthians 3:4-11; Matthew 5:17-19
There is a wonderful short line in 2 Cor 3:6. It comes at the end of the first paragraph of the first reading used at Mass today: "The written law kills, but the Spirit gives life." The volumes that have been written about the contrast of law and spirit in our lives testify that for many Christians this opposition touches on something deep, pervasive, and recurring.
What if I would set out today to perform one action that comes not from the law but from the Spirit? What might that action be? An unexpected word of encouragement to a struggling co-worker? A gratuitous word of interest in the activities of a son, daughter, or parent?