We have been reflecting these last few weeks on who Jesus is and who we are called to be as his disciples. Today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the hopes and dreams of the Jewish people. He is the long-awaited for Messiah. He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets! And in the same way, he invites us to share in what he is doing: fulfilling all the commands of God. He calls us to obey and to teach the will of God.
But he also stretches us today. He calls us to not just blind obedience and thoughtless fulfillment of rules. Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, but I say to you…” and then stretches his listeners to fulfill the deeper meaning of the commands and teachings we are given. And that is a challenge! Being stretched is usually not easy or fun; it is often uncomfortable.
There is another challenging aspect of today’s message. If we come to the altar and recall that a brother or sister has anything against us, we are to leave our gift, go first and be reconciled, and then return to offer our gift. What if we took that seriously? (There might not be too many people present for the Preparation of the Gifts!)
- Can I be stretched?
- Can I fulfill not only the letter, but the deeper spirit of the teaching?
- Can I reconcile?