Homily 02 26 2017
Scripture Readings: Is. 49:14-5 1 Cor. 4:1-5 Mt. 6:24-34
One thing I most like about Jesus is his oratorical style. It's like my own sometimes. I call it the "Why use one word when five will do?" approach. If a thing is worth saying one way, it's worth saying several other ways too!
The gospel today, and really the entire Sermon on the Mount utilizes
this approach. Jesus keeps saying the same thing, over and over, in
different ways, from different directions.
Today's Gospel is yet another way of summarizing the same thing: Jesus is the fulfillment of the entire Hebraic law, the messianic completion of all that Matthew's Israelite readers had previously believed. He is the new Moses; what he says completes what Moses said before.
Today the entire decalogue is summed up in the first commandment. "I am the Lord Thy God, thou shalt not have strange Gods before me," i.e. there is no other God but God. The entire Sermon is summarized in this line. You cannot have two Gods, two masters. Nobody can serve, be faithful to more than one God.
Everything Jesus has said in the Sermon so far, everything we've heard over the past several weeks invites us to trust in this God more than we do in stuff (i.e. not just money, but Mammon, or things).
As we come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount and prepare for Lent, what do we hold onto? An invitation to radically trust God, the God we have met and been loved by, in Jesus. And to radically build our lives on that trust!
I once heard a wonderful story on the importance of Canon Law in the Church. It speaks also to the importance of Old Covenant in relationship to the Sermon on the Mount.
The Sermon on the Mount suggests simply: If we meet Jesus, everything else will follow. If we have met God, met Jesus and let him be our master, everything else will follow.
During the coming Lenten season, we enter more fully into that meeting with God in Jesus. We do that in Eucharist now.
Next week Lent begins. It’s a season when many of us decide to make some personal sacrifices. We do it for many reasons: to deepen our awareness of our spiritual life and our inner hunger for God; to give up something we like and give the money we save to the poor; to express sorrow for our sins, etc.
These and many others are noble and worthy intentions indeed.