Gospel: Mt 5:17-37
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to annul the law and the prophets. I have not come to annul them, but to fulfill them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or dot in the law will change, until all is fulfilled.
“So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.
“I tell you, if your sense of right and wrong is not keener than that of the Lawyers and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard, that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit murder; anyone who murders will have to face trial. But now, I tell you: whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister is liable, to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or sister “Fool!“ is liable, of being thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there, in front of the altar; go at once, and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.
“Don’t forget this: be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There, you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said: Do not commit adultery. But I tell you this: anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
“So, if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell.
“It was also said: Anyone who divorces his wife, must give her a written notice of divorce. But what I tell you is this: if a man divorces his wife, except in the case of unlawful union, he causes her to commit adultery. And the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“You have also heard that people were told in the past: Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this: do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are God’s throne; nor by the earth, because it is his foot stool; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great king. Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ anything else you say comes from the evil one.“
Read: God has placed life and death before us; it is up to us to choose wisely. Those who choose wisely will receive what God has prepared for them from eternity. Through his discourse, Jesus invites his listeners to observe the law in its essence and spirit, and thus become worthy entrants to the Kingdom.
Reflect: “Spirit probes everything, even the depths of God.“ The Spirit knows our innermost being, with its desires and intentions. We cannot fool God by our external observance of the commandments. So let us keep our intentions pure and weed out anything that makes our observance of law less than wholesome.
Pray: Recite a prayer to the Holy Spirit for the cleansing and renewal of heart.
Act: Do an honest examination of conscience today.