Jesus states the law: “You shall not kill; whoever kills will be liable to judgment.” He then asks them to go beyond the obvious: not just you shall not kill—but you shall not be (act) angry, you shall not name call, you shall forgive, you shall not hold grudges―and you must settle with others. “Kill” in this case may not be just about killing the body; but about killing someone’s spirit, someone’s hopes, someone’s dreams, someone’s ability to move on. Jesus’ description of “kill” encompasses more than the strict and usual definition. He gives a broad meaning that encompasses more; He challenges us as Disciples to live beyond the obvious.
Jesus states the law: “You shall not commit adultery.” Then he tells them you shall not lust even in your heart. He goes on, you get the picture! He states the Jewish laws in the Gospel and then he takes us past those obvious and particular parameters and into God-like sacredness and holiness. The thoroughness and dimension of His teaching is revolutionary and very demanding.
Our hymn at Communion today is “Eye Has Not Seen,” It directly quotes the Second Reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard…(we cannot imagine) what God has (ready) prepared for those who love Him.” In other words (Scriptural words): we do not think as God does about the law or punishment or most anything. As His Disciples we should try though, to ask for the grace to look beyond any laws intent, and like Jesus act in mercy and grace for those around us. This is what we are called to do!
At the end of the long Gospel reading Jesus says: “Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow…Let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No.” If you think about it, sticking to your word, your vows, your personal integrity in all you say and do—is sticking to your Baptismal promises as a Christian in all its challenging (and very difficult) implications. Remember He says: “Anything more is from the evil one.” Hmmm. No wiggle room there…