You have heard that it was said
Greetings on this the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: LV 19:1-2, 17-18; PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13; 1 COR 3:16-23; MT 5:38-48
These past three weeks we have been reading the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon begins with the Beatitudes and continues on teaching for three chapters!
The Sermon on the Mount takes chapters 5, 6, and 7 to express.
It takes two Sundays alone to go through the correction of Fake News. Jesus talks about ‘You have heard that is was said’.
Of course the point is actually no. It is not what the Lord said. Not in the beginning. Not to Moses or the Prophets and not by Jesus. It is instead the product of the Deceiver, the Satan. [Note: some traditional reading of lex talionis, tit for tat, of Ex 21:24-25 is simply an error in reading scripture. Verse 24 must always be read with verse 26. Ex:21-24-26 as a continuous statement.]
But that is what makes Fake News so plausible. Lack of attention to detail.
As we progress toward the season of Lent (this Wednesday) let us be attentive to what Jesus has to say today.
Stop swallowing whole the Fake News of False Christianity.
The Lord speaking to Moses set the standard of conduct for those who love God.
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy (LV 19:2)
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (LV19:18)
Be Holy. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I usually don’t list out the contents of the Psalm reading but today I will. Here are the ‘being holiness of the Lord’ as the Psalmist describes it:
Bless the LORD, O my soul – praise this loving God…
- Pardon neighbors iniquities.
- Doctor neighbors ills.
- Redeem neighbor from destruction.
- Crowns neighbor with kindness and compassion.
- Be Merciful and gracious to your neighbor.
- Be slow to anger and abounding in kindness in dealing with your neighbor.
I can sense the calculations already. But, not, I mean, how, why, no….
It’s an urge we need to avoid. It is the place Jesus describes as “You have heard that it was said”.
Do you not know that you (and your neighbor) are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (and them)? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
But, but, but…
God catches the wise in their own ruses, and again: The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Says St Paul to the Corinthians.
God knows our Fake News.
In today’s portion of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus describes the proper response to a variety of situations (strike, tunic, service, favors and loans).
The summit of these responses is Love. Jesus says love your enemies. Pray for those who prosecute you.
Jesus startles us with this paraphrase: Loving only those who love you is of little eternal consequence relative to the necessity to love toward the perfection of being holy as the Father is holy. This should be startling on so many levels!
And yet with divine help we can indeed make this transcendence. Love cannot be merely for self and immediate self (family/friends). Instead it must bridge the gap of difference and alien in order to be like the one who loves us though we deserve nothing. Isn’t that exactly how God loves us?
Come and share the divine love with any and everyone.
Peace be with you,