MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects the Sermon on the Mount and what Jesus is asking us to do. It has something to do with doing through being. What is that? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time to find out. Please readMatthew 5:17-37. #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #BeingThroughDoing #Secretaries #Change #Matthew #Messiah
For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 2/16/2014 The 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 5:17-37 .
Christians ought to live their lives like they are afraid they are going to hell and are sure they are going to heaven.
It is like two receptionists that work at a company. One answers the phone in the morning. The other answers the phone in the afternoon. The sales team noticed that in the afternoon the sales for the company are notably higher. The technical support department noticed that their satisfaction rates are notably higher in the afternoon, too. The company did research in sales and found that there wasn’t anything different in the morning from the afternoon in the way that the sales team did their work. There was nothing notably different for the technical support workers either. The company hired to do the analysis was trying to figure out what the difference was until one day, when they called in the morning they heard this:
“Thank you for calling Brand X. How may I help you?”
Then they called in the afternoon and heard this:
“Thank you for calling Brand X. This is Michelle, how may I be of service to you today?”
The difference could not be more stark. The receptionist in the morning professionally and acceptably answered calls and directed them to the proper department, just like her job description required. The afternoon receptionist, though, was more than just directing calls for others to work out their problems and needs. She was gently, and with a spirit of joy, advocating for the customer and clients. She was directing persons by the sound of their mood to certain sales people and technicians that she thought would match one another. She was listening to the needs of the customers and clients and giving them herself and her knowledge of the company.
In today’s Gospel, we have Jesus preaching from the Sermon on the Mount. He is quoting law after law. The scribes and Pharisees should be happy, right? Well, they would be if Jesus left it at just quoting the law. Instead, he did what any good Rabbi would do, he expounded on the law. For us who are Christians, this is quite significant. Jesus is not just a moral teacher to us. He is not just a nice guy who does nice things for nice people. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. He is the Logos, the very mind of God. This is why we hear the priest chant as he elevates the Host in the Eucharist, “Through him, and with him and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever…”
We believe that the world was created through the Son of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This means that when the Son comes to earth in the flesh in Jesus, the God/Man, then he is the one who knows the true definition of things. In Mark 10, he says that the law about divorce was given because of our weakness. Although, an eye for an eye was to keep people from abusing others disproportionately, Jesus, the Son of the Father in Heaven, comes and tells his followers that we ought not be about just preventing murder, or preventing adultery, or taking false oaths.
Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, is saying that to be a Christian is MORE than just doing the minimum the law sets out. Being a Christian is MORE than following laws and procedures and jotting tittles. Being a Christian is about going above and beyond the law to love. Love is more than just doing the bare minimum. St. Paul summarizes this passage,
For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart… (Romans 2:27-28)
It is the same as when Jesus tells us that what goes into a mouth does not make a man unclean, but what comes out of it, blessing and cursing. There are other examples too, too many to count. The idea of being a Christian is a change within that springs forward to do whatever it can, wherever it can to love others without losing the self in the process. Like the afternoon receptionist, we must embrace the whole of the way God wants us to live, not just do what is required to save our fannies or our jobs.
Christian, do not murder, forgive and make peace instead. Christian, do not commit adultery, treat others as more than objects of your sexual desire. Christian, do not take a false oath, live a life of integrity where your yes and no stand on your character. If we are asking the question, “what must I do to get to heaven?” then we have failed before we have even begun. If we ask, “what can I do to love God?” then we are in heaven already. Christians are not Christians by being through doing. Christians are Christians by doing through being.
We like to separate ourselves from our actions. Often when I am giving pastoral counseling and a person is confronted with their bad behavior, he said, “It is not who I really am.” That is not true. We do who we are. If we let that sink in, maybe we would accept responsibility for our actions more. Maybe there would be more true repentance in our world. What we should say is this, “I am not being who I want to be.” When we get angry and fly off the handle, is that who we want to be? When we lust after another person, is that who we want to be? When we tell a lie to get ahead, is that who we want to be? Not if we want to love God. We have to be more one day, one moment, at a time.
At the same time, the one who is telling us to be more is the same one who thought forgiveness was so important that he was shafted for it, he was beaten to a pulp for it and he died for it. He is the one who said to the woman who was caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” All was forgiven. All was forgotten. Where do you get that kind of forgiveness but from God? You don’t get that from people. You don’t get that from institutions or businesses. You don’t get that kind of forgiveness anywhere except from the heart of God.
So, as we Christians are striving for righteousness like we are earning every second in heaven, which we are not, we ought to have the comfort of knowing that there is a room being prepared for us in heaven. It is a both/and proposition. So, when you listen to this passage from our Lord today and think you have not done enough, you are right. Your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. Yet, you are not alone. Jesus is waiting for you in the Eucharist to make you holy as the Lord your God is holy. Come. Amen? Amen.
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