Feb 11, 2023
(Sir.15:15-20; Ps.119:1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34; 1Cor.2:6-10; Mt.5:17-37)
“Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!”
The clear theme of today’s readings is the need to “exactly observe” the commands of the Lord, to keep His law “with all [our] heart.” It is this walking “in the law of the Lord” that makes us blessed in His sight.
It is popular to believe that Jesus’ coming somehow nullifies the law and makes it unnecessary for our lives. The Lord makes it quite clear the opposite is true: “I have not come to abolish but to fulfill.” In fact, He could not make the point more certain than His saying, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law.” Indeed, He does not say only that killing subjects one to judgment, but even anger at one’s brother. Not only is committing adultery wrong, but “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Simply because forgiveness is greater in the presence of Jesus does not mean punishment is less; it is in fact greater as well, and more than greater – eternal. Now “the Spirit scrutinizes everything.” Now even the smallest of sins is exposed to the all-encompassing light of Christ and to the “all-seeing… eyes of God.” The sins being more greatly exposed, of course the forgiveness is greater, for there is that much more for the all-compassionate God to forgive. But by the same token, for those who do not come to Jesus to receive His grace and mercy, for those who choose death over life… the punishment is certainly all the greater; for more they see upon their souls about which to gnash their teeth. And now the choice that is made by the will of man is no longer temporal: it is made eternal by the Son of Man. There is no release from Gehenna, and Jesus comes to usher us into Heaven or cast our souls into Hell. And further warning is found in the saints, who have said that most must pay “the last penny” in the fires of Purgatory before entering the heavenly gates.
The Lord gives no one “license to sin.” All shall be responsible for their actions against Him and against His wisdom and love. All are commanded to act justly before Him, if we hope to come into His kingdom. “Yes” is “yes” with the Lord, and “no” is “no”: no deception will stand before Him. We must pray each day for the wisdom to follow Him, and so find His everlasting grace upon our souls even as we journey through this world.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Give Me Strength" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, let us resolve to walk in your wisdom
that we might find eternal life.
YHWH, help us to follow in your ways with our whole heart, to seek ever to fulfill your commandments, to be obedient to your Word and that of your Son. Then we shall be blessed, for then we shall be perfect even as you are perfect.
Now your Spirit reveals all your truth through the teaching of Jesus. Now light is fully shed on the wonders of your Law. Now we are called to love as you love – not to be angry with our brothers, not to have lust in our heart… not to let our eyes wander or our tongue speak anything but your truth. The way to Heaven your Son makes clear to us: O LORD, let us heed His Word and walk in His holy way!
How holy we must be to enter your presence, how detached from all sin. Nothing of darkness can approach your glory, and so to the letter we must follow your Word. Indeed, we must wholly live in your love. To see as you see, O LORD, to transcend our blindness… to come to what is beyond our minds, we must give ourselves over to the Spirit and be purified of every stain of sin.