Our first reading today is from the book of Sirach 15:15-20. This book is written in Hebrew about 200 years before Jesus is born. Our reading is rather short but it is not short on message. Basically Sirach is telling us we can make choices in our life. We have the gift of free will from God and “if you trust in God, you too shall live close.” This is important to remember as we all have a tendency to blame something or someone else when we suffer the effects of our sinfulness. Sinfulness is always our own choice.
Our Gospel reading today is from Matthew 5:17-37. The first part of this reading has Jesus proclaiming that he has not come to abolish or change the law; he has come to define the law. Jesus goes on to give a few examples of what he is trying to say. His first example: the law says “you shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.” Jesus says whoever is angry with his brother and does not forgive him will be subject to punishment. The law says “you shall not commit adultery.” Jesus says “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart.”
Do you see what Jesus is trying to teach? He is trying to tell us that it is what’s in our hearts that makes us sinful. Holding a grudge against someone or lusting after someone are just two examples. I’m sure you can think of many more.
Jesus is inviting us to keep our minds and hearts full of love for each other. You cannot do that if you’re holding a grudge or concentrating on a forbidden pleasure. You cannot do that if your mind and heart are only concerned with greed and covetousness. Jesus is inviting us to be good and holy inside and out! This will not only get us into heaven but it will also make life here on earth much more bearable!
Peace and All Good!