Raising the Bar - Brief audio reflection on Matthew 5:21-37, 6th Sunday after Epiphany, Year A
Even simple common sense laws seem to have a way of exploding into a morass of regulations. The Federal Register of Regulations is quickly closing in on a million pages. But it’s not a new phenomenon. In Exodus God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. But that was followed by 27 chapters of do’s and don’ts in Leviticus and 34 chapters more in Deuteronomy, which then morphed into 6,200 pages of Talmudic law covering every aspect of beliefs, behaviors, diet, customs, ethics and attitudes. In this week’s gospel, Jesus tells us there is another way… a better, simpler way… to be in harmony with the will of God.
Jesus would have us live more active and more complete lives of virtue… as defined by love of God and love of neighbor. He is raising the bar… calling us to elevate our game.
In calling us to follow him, Jesus would have us live in the love of God… leaving no room for sin, filling our hearts, filling our days in joyful harmony with his will. That means we wake in Christ’s love. We give him our day. We spend it together. And we end it gratefully, another day closer to him.
In this gospel, Christ has raised the bar for moral behavior. But in his love, he raises us up so very much higher… well over the bar and safely all the way home.
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