Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.
’You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’
Mt 5:20-22. 27-28. 33-34. 37
The commandments and practices of our faith lead us to God. We cannot dismiss these righteous teachings. But even before we live them, we must live out Jesus’ commandment to love.
Jesus asks even more of us than God asked of the Hebrew people.
Every act of worship needs to be preceded or followed by acts of justice and reconciliation with our families, work colleagues and neighbours, or our worship and laws are worthless.
Justice is what love looks like in public!. Our thoughts and our words are often the way we break God’s law of love. Jesus did not abolish the Law, he introduced a completely new way of thinking. He did not abolish or change the Law but went far beyond its requirements. For Jesus, just to keep the Law externally is not enough.
To be a disciple of Christ, the foundation of our lives must go deeper – to a mutual love. To keep the Law without love is like having a body without a soul. Keeping the letter of the Law of God and of the Church is not the same as being a good disciple of Jesus.“If your virtue goes no deeper than the Scribes and the Pharisees [who were perfect observers of the letter of the Law], then you will never enter the Kingdom of God,” Jesus says today.
Being in relationship with each other is what is most important. Jesus teaches us that we must live from the heart. Jesus understands human nature and leads us first in love and second in obedience to the law. In the end, God’s law is LOVE! What a wonderful message close so close to St Valentine’s Day.
According to a legend, a desert wanderer found a crystal spring of unsurpassed freshness. The water was so pure that he decided to bring some to his king. Barely satisfying his own thirst, he filled a leather bottle with the water and carried it many days beneath the desert sun before he reached the palace.
When he finally laid his offering at the feet of his sovereign, the water had become stale because of the old container in which it had been stored. But the king would not let his faithful subject even imagine that it was unfit for use. He tasted it with expressions of gratitude and delight, and the loyal man went away with a heart filled with gladness.
After he had gone, others sampled the water and expressed their surprise that the king had even pretended to enjoy it. ‘Ah,’ said he, ‘it was not the water I tasted, but the love that prompted the offering.’
Mission and Identity Team