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!
Paul gives us a little different way to look at it. He tells us that we are earthen vessels, yet we have been entrusted with a treasure. A treasure we are asked to share. The treasure inside is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Light of Christ. We are asked to shine that light, to live the Gospel, to be Christ to others (2 Corinthians 4:6). The world may persecute and strike out at us, yet He will not forsake us and we will not be destroyed. We may be afflicted and perplexed, but He will not allow us to be crushed or driven to despair.
Honesty and good intentions are never old fashioned or out-dated. People recognize them when they encounter them, and may even be pleasantly surprised by them. “I am the servant of the Lord, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds” (Psalms 116:16). If we make ourselves available to the Lord, if we allow the Lord to work through us, if we remain open to the murmuring of His Holy Spirit, if we make our light available to others we will experience peace, joy, and happiness, not just in heaven, but today, now.
Not the peace the world gives (a peace free from strife or difficulty), but an inner peace that makes you feel good about yourself and what you are doing.
Not a jump-up-and-down joy that people think means that they are happy, but the joy of contentment and completeness.
A happiness not found through earthly things, but a happiness found in the freedom achieved by knowing/understanding “that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Lord, help us to do the ordinary things of our lives in an extraordinary way, by letting Your love shine through us and guide us in all that we say and do.
By Brigid Laquer