6th Sunday in Ordinary Time A
This week’s Gospel, although quite long, has a few key topics. We all know about lawyers and their role in society, even if we have never had need of them ourselves. We probably all have an opinion about them as well, depending on what we have heard, read or experienced. We may even remember some stories of the Law from the Old Testament. When we think straight, however, we know that the laws of our countries are made for our own good. What happens after that is when the laws are challenged and so bits are added, taken away or modified. It is then some find the laws difficult.
The laws Jesus is talking about here are no different – except they are God’s laws – laws made for our good, for our happiness. Jesus criticises those who exact the Law, who take every last drop of blood, without any sign of compassion. In saying, correctly, they must not kill, according to Moses’ commandment, they take that literally whereas Jesus goes further: we must not be angry with one another. Jesus talks about being reconciled before the courts get involved.
Jesus then refers to the commandment ‘you must not commit adultery’ – again instead of taking this literally Jesus refers to how we treat each other. We could take each of the commandments and offer a less literal interpretation. What perhaps we need to hear in this Gospel – in fact in all the Sermon on the Mount - is Jesus calling us to a more radical way of thinking. We need to look beyond the Law – we need to look at its spirit.
St. John Paul II, a Pope of our time, wrote about the choosing of life – ‘to choose life involves rejecting every form of violence, the violence of poverty and hunger, the violence of armed conflict, the violence of criminal trafficking in drugs and arms, the violence of mindless damage to the natural environment.’
By looking deeper, by reflecting more on the text we can learn what Jesus really meant. Sometimes we place limits on what we hear and thus limits on how we live out our faith. If we really lived a true Christian life it would probably be a lot harder than the life we are living at present. Perhaps we need to look at ourselves a little closer. It would be good to read the reading again to see if our understanding of it can be deepened so that we can comprehend what it is that Jesus wants each of us to do.
Sr. Margaret Mattison