Psalms 40, 54 *51; Exodus 34:18-35; 1 Thess 3:1-13; Matthew 5:27-37
In yesterday's Gospel from Matthew we heard Jesus say that if someone is angry, or thinks "bad" things about someone else, that person is "in trouble" with God. Today we hear Jesus say (something made famous by former President Jimmy Carter) that if a person has lust in their heart, they have already committed adultery. Jesus also says If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away...
Jesus is not asking all of us to maim ourselves: we'd be a people without eyes and hands if that were the case. Jesus is asking us to be true. True in what we say, how we act, how we feel. There is no falseness or masks or facades allowed. We need to be who we are and let the world know who we are: good people. And if we are not acting out our goodness, then we need to pause and alter our behavior.
Jesus is demanding that we be our best, inside and out...in all things that we do...We are called to be "real" in all things, to all people...including ourselves. Putting the mirror up to ourselves and really being honest is the first step toward living into this instruction of Jesus. This "real living" is setting the model for those around us to emulate, thereby engaging God's word with our actions and more readily assisting the building of this Kingdom Jesus opens for all of us.
A tall task for us today...but one that can be started in the privacy of our own home by looking in the mirror and truly understanding the goodness that is within us, and then sharing that love with those around us.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Ordination Moment.