Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A
Reflecting on Matthew 5: 17-37
The Gospel today is so refreshing because it’s so in-your-face about the way we try to squirm out of really living it.
Don’t show up with your offering if you’re still furious with your brother. Don’t be slimy about your fantasy life with people not your spouse and still pretend that you are faithful. Don’t do mean and unethical things just because nobody is watching (really?) or because the law hasn’t noticed your tax evasions yet. Don’t do just enough to not get caught, love just enough to keep up appearances, swear on anybody’s dead body. Truth is truth and a lie’s a lie, so just tell the truth for heaven’s sake.
Here’s how the believer behaves, says Jesus. Do the hard and holy work of reconciliation. Be faithful in your private life, and oh how your light will shine in public. Let your actions spring from authentic love. Don’t watch the clock. Don’t ask if there’ll be a test on the material. Do fulfill the Law by abounding in love. In fact, just love, and then do what you will.
Think of the children whom you love fiercely, whom you want others to love and give the benefit of the doubt, to whom you hope the world will extend friendship and compassion. No half-teachers, half-friends, half-loves. You know how you want them to be loved. Now go, says Jesus, and love like that.
Whoosh! Did you feel that? It felt a lot like the fire of Sinai, carried like an Olympic torch by you, the light of the world.
Are there ways in which you are just putting in the time instead of actually investing in love?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
I have felt the calling to change my life since this summer, after reading “Mother Teresa’s Prescription” and Father Michael Scanlan’s book Baptized by Fire. Both books are a call to action. Very clearly Mother Teresa did not call on us to take up a sword, but to simply focus on those in need. What a simple thing, to look at someone else’s needs rather than ours! By doing so, we are looking at the gospel, loving the way Jesus taught us to love.
When I first heard Matthew West’s song “The Motions” I sat and cried. It’s been a motivating force for me ever since. Kathy’s comments about half-friends, half-loves all the other halves in life brought me right back to that moment.
“I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions”
What is it like to have the all consuming passion of God alive and active inside of me, in this community, in this world? What would it be like to go beyond the half-way mark in relationships, in service, in giving of myself? What would it be like to go the “extra mile,” instead of stopping short? Sometimes I think I do, but there are those other times….
Years ago, a friend of mine asked me what I was passionate about and I didn’t know. It felt so sad to sit there wondering rather than have passion jump out at me. Since then, my attitude has changed to allow me to recognize what gives me goose bumps, what causes me to give it everything I have and am. Recognition seems to be part of the passion. Gratitude helps me grow in love and calls me to invest myself even more. I don’t want to just go through motions; I want to be fully present. I don’t want to let this moment in life to pass me by. I want to live it. I want to love the people who come into my life through every day experiences, through the prayer network, through the newspaper, through the cashier line at the grocery store, through the lanes of traffic on I-25. I want to love the people who are on the wayside or who stand in the margins, those who are poor and oppressed, lonely and weary. And not just half-way, but all the way. Because what would my life be like if I really did give everything to it?
years ago, a priest lectured our high school class about “going all the way”. At the time, free love and everything else free ruled the world we knew. “Going all the way” described having sex with the person you loved. Giving all to a single individual that you wanted to be with forever!!! (Like ANYBODY really knew at age 17 who they really wanted/needed/loved/lusted/etc!)
This very wise priest taught us all that “going all the way” wasn’t sleeping with that ultimate “soulmate” but waiting and following the Church’s rules about premarital sex and the sacrament of marriage.
Fast forward some 40 years. We have all had “life” experiences. Some of listened to that priest, some of us didn’t. The lesson we take away from it is still the same. “GO ALL THE WAY!” Commit to God in our lives! Go all the way in your job, your family, your relationships, your passion, your hobbies, even your football team for Jesus wants us to LIVE! and one can only live if they open their heart, mind, body and soul to God/Love. P.S. Thanks God for the Green Bay Packers…just sayin’!
All I know is that I am not there yet, “there” being the perfect gift of 100% love and dedication.
BUT when I read the entries here of all my faith cyber friends, I feel the boost to move a little bit more each time. So, thank you everyone. – – Cris
This is one of my favorite readings. I completely agree with “Truth is truth and a lie’s a lie, so just tell the truth for heaven’s sake.” I’ll just add that to me the verses on “yes meaning yes …” is about personal integrity and constancy of character. Dare to be a real person who is full of truth and radiates integrity.
I don’t have anything to add to these beautiful reflections, but wanted to thank those who wrote for your rich, wise words. So much to think about.