Thursday, June 15, 2017

There is beauty and a depth to the Sacred Scripture that is often missed by those who read it casually. For many, it is because they read it as if it were dictated by God as a set of rules (click the link to read more)

Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 362
2 COR 3:15—4:1, 3-6
PS 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14
MT 5:20-26

There is beauty and a depth to the Sacred Scripture that is often missed by those who read it casually.  For many, it is because they read it as if it were dictated by God as a set of rules, instead of inspired by God and recorded by those who were learning who God was with their own limited human faculties.  Some see the God of the Old Testament as being angry, violent, and rigid; while at the same time believing the God of the New Testament as being different: loving, kind, generous, and forgiving.   God doesn’t change.   The Sacred Scriptures grow in understanding, just as those who lived out their relationship with God grew in understanding.   The problem is our own minds often veil us from the true Spiritual realities of what it means to be in a relationship with God.  Sometimes the very use of words themselves often limits the reality of who God is and what He asks of us.

Saint Paul in his letter to the Corinthians describes it as a veil over the mind that prevents us from seeing clearly through to the purpose of the law.   When one reads the Old Testament on a superficial level, on a level that does not use Christ as the key to understanding it, they can confuse it with simply a list of dos and don’ts.   That was one of the major mistakes of the Pharisees and is still a common error today.   The law was not given to us to simply give us 613 rules to follow that God might separate us based on our ability to conform to them.   It was given to change us on the inside.   To make us into the kind of people who could live out the two great commandments as Christ simplified the law: Love God and your neighbor.

That is the line of thought that Jesus gives us in this section of the Sermon on the Mount.   It’s not enough to simply follow the “rules.”   We have to work on the things that make us break those rules.   Not simply to not murder, but to root out the evil thoughts and anger that make us want to do such things.   We can’t simply actively avoid committing adultery.  We must also stop thinking thoughts of lust and the viewing of pornography. We must always avoid desiring someone in a way that removes their human dignity and turns them into an object for our own pleasure.    Why?   Because these thoughts and actions offend the purity of God.  How can we claim to be in a relationship with Him if we do not act in a way that allows us to draw close to Him?  If our actions push Him away from us and hurt Him constantly?   Our relationship with God is still growing in understanding.  We still have a long way to go on human dignity when it comes to our relationship with the LGBT community, the refugee, the alien, and those who cannot speak or protect themselves.   The key though will always be Christ and internal change, not just outside rules and regulations.   That’s what the Church is for.  To help guide us through this world and give us guidelines that help us not just do external works, but to change who we are… that we might become more like Christ and more fully who God created us to be.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14