Gospel: Matthew 5:20-22.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.
‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven
The Gospel of the Lord Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Donal Neary SJ:
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year A: Matthew
The heart of religion
This list of some of Jesus' sayings give an indication of what is important to him. He states the religious tradition of the people when he says that he has not come to abolish the old religion, and that religion must go much deeper and be an affair of the heart. He asks for forgiveness and reconciliation when he speaks about leaving a gift at the altar to go for reconciliation. He commends marriage, and faithfulness in marriage, in his views on divorce. He believes in the respect for sexuality that is shown in not using a person. This collection of Jesus' sayings form a background to how he lived his life himself. He lived out these sayings in many of the events of his life, which we hear about on other Sundays. The Sermon on the Mount, of which this is part, is the backdrop to much of Jesus' life and mission, a sort of vision statement for his life and ministry.
Much of this went against the religious practice of his people, which was centred mostly on externals. He saw the ritual and the law of religion as important only if it came from the heart.This is the challenge always to religion - to live heartily what it enthusiastically believes. Practices in ritual and in religious custom and laws may change with different cultures and times; what is important is the way we live our lives, following Jesus and knowing that all our efforts to live like him are praised and rewarded. Pope Francis says, 'It is not enough to just respect the commandments and do nothing more. Christian life is not just an ethical life: it is an encounter with Jesus Christ' (9 May 2016).
Repeat a favourite gospel phrase as you breathe in;
your outbreath is your thanks for this help in your life.
Lord, your will be done each day in my life.