Vocation Meditation -
February 13, 2011
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For I tell you, unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and whoever murders shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you that the one who is angry with their brother or sister, will be liable to judgment; and whoever insults their brother or sister, will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go first to be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you: Do not swear at all.”
“Let your word be ‘Yes,’ if ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ if ‘No; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
The Scribes, Pharisees and even Rabbis never dared to express their own opinion but usually accompanied them with phrases like, “Thus says the Lord”. Jesus was His own authority but claimed no personal authority at all. His only claim was that, what He spoke was what God had told Him. He spoke with authority as the Son of God.
Jesus put a standard of behavior before men and women which is entirely new and startling to the Jews. Jesus was intensely concerned about the thoughts of men. It was His teaching that thoughts are as important as deeds. Our life is not made of compartments: one hidden and one that is made known. We must not live differently from our thoughts. By worldly standards, people are considered good if they never do a forbidden thing. But by Jesus’ standards, we can only aspire to goodness when we never even desire to do a forbidden thing. Christian life is a radical invitation to a unity of life: to think good of oneself and others and to do good.
We are always in the presence of God. He sees us, hears us and knows our thoughts. He is our Maker, Father and our Saving Grace. God is involved in all that we are and in all that we do. He cares for us. Hence, “Let us live honorably as in daylight.” (Rom. 13)
“First, be reconciled and then come and offer your gift.”
What healing measures do I need to take to complete my offering to the Lord?
Loving and compassionate Lord, you willed all men and women in Christ, to live in love and be sanctified in charity. Thank you for calling me to follow Jesus. Search me and know my thoughts. Keep me holy in the truth. Let the daily offering of myself be acceptable and pleasing in your sight. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.