Brief Audio Reflection "As Good as it Gets" on Matthew 5:38-48. The Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year A
Pavarotti soaring in Nessun Dorma… magnificent; Astaire and Rogers floating through Cole Porter’s Night and Day… breathe taking; Olivier’s menacing Richard III… brilliant; but for pure soul stirring impact, Jesus of Nazareth’s Sermon on the Mount is as good as it gets. But in a media age, if the images don’t move and the mood isn’t captured by music, if the thought takes more than 140 characters to convey, that means we need to think, we need to dig into the text, we need to work to take in the full impact of the words on the page. And sadly, that is an endangered activity. This is our fourth consecutive Sunday of working our way, word by word, through all 48 verses of the fifth chapter of Matthew. And every minute of it pays-off in inspiration. The depth, the breadth, the language, the passion are all unparalleled. But it is the content, not the presentation, that is the most remarkable aspect of Christ’s mountain-side message.
Jesus is telling us that when it comes to real-life, everyday decisions, that marginal moral behavior is not acceptable. It’s not why the Father made us. It’s not why the Son died for us. Hoping to squeak by with a minimum of effort and inconvenience is a formula for failure. And more than anything, Jesus wants us to succeed. So he calls us to be perfect, even though he knows we are flawed. He loves us in our sins and calls us to rise above them… always aiming higher...
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