“Our Gospel reading tonight is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew’s Gospel and this is a small selection of his teachings in that sermon and it’s a good thing for us sometimes to just go through Matthew’s Gospel and read the whole sermon beginning with chapter 5, the Beatitudes, and through the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. It gives a good idea of course of the kind of person that Jesus calls each of us to be. Now there are many parts to that Homily of Jesus. I think there are some things that we can say of all of them:
- It’s not just about the externals of life. For the pharisees and scribes it was only important that you did the externals that what was in your heart was not important, but Jesus reverses it. What is in your heart is of the most importance because it’s in your heart that we find virtue and sin. If we intend to do something that is wrong then we’ve already committed sin whether we carry it out or not. That’s Jesus’ explicit instruction in our Gospel tonight so the heart is the most important part of our lives as Christians.
- Catholics have a higher standard to live by than the rest of society. We must live by that higher standard if we are to truly be Christian. Why? Why do we have a higher standard? Because we have Christ. We have the Mass and the sacraments. We have the scriptures, the teaching of Christ. We have the Church and so we have a higher standard to live by than the rest of society and in fact we are to be light for the world and salt of the Earth. We are to bring light into the world by our way of living by our higher standard that we live by.
- All of the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount including the Beatitudes can be summed up with Jesus’ words, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love is the meaning of the law of Christ. To love God, he loves us, he loves you perfectly, completely, he’ll never take it back and he wants you to respond to the love to grow everyday in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our savior. He is our redeemer. He is our Lord and our God and he wants us to come closer to him to be his friends and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Love of others I think means this: wanting the best for the other person and being willing to sacrifice for that good. That’s the meaning of love. If we don’t have that then we just have something else maybe emotion or something else that is fleeting that you can’t depend upon, but to love demands wanting the best and being willing to sacrifice for that. All of God’s love is found in Jesus and he calls us to love him and to love one another.
I have a prayer that I would like to share with you. I entitled this prayer, ‘Law Of Love’.
To live your law is life oh Lord
It is to follow you
We can choose to live or die
To die or live anew
To love is how we live your law
To reconcile to give
To sacrifice for others good
To form relationships
Never harboring angry thoughts
Speaking with respect
Forgiving from the heart when hurt
That’s the ultimate test
To live a life of chastity
Not indulging lust
Respecting persons in our thoughts
Creating faith and trust
To love you Lord with all my soul
With love that is heartfelt
That is your great command to us
Love neighbor as oneself”