In this Sunday’s Gospel reading we see the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, found in chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of Matthew. We are invited to put into practice what we have heard in the previous Sunday’s readings.
What we find in the first reading today could be taken as an order or it could be taken as a loving invitation. Our understanding will change when we begin to read what we call commandments as loving invitations.
Imagine someone lost in a forest. He would immediately want to find someone who lives in that same forest to help him learn how to survive and not die from hunger, thirst or exhaustion. Would those instructions be considered orders or charitable advice? Could they be an invitation to do something good enabling the lost one to survive and to thrive?
When someone doesn’t see the dangers lurking, they are the most vulnerable. Advice or words of help may sound like uncomfortable orders or impositions, which could limit one’s freedom.
God’s way of saying things is strong and the consequences of disobeying Him are serious. It would be similar to that one in the forest who has no direction or warning of the dangers, which lie ahead.
The Sermon on the Mount ends by reminding us to put into practice Jesus’ teaching. In simple words, the best disciple is not the one who has more knowledge of the teaching but rather, it is the one who is obedient. In some way true understanding comes through obedience. If we don’t follow this way, the “house” we thought we built with our own plans will not last.
The foundations of Christian life are twofold. The first is to have an alive faith in the salvation which God graciously gives us in Jesus and secondly, to have a transformed will, docile to the action of the Holy Spirit. This will enable us to put into practice what Jesus taught with His words and example.
Lord, I believe that you are truly present with me now, ready to shower your grace upon me. I have the difficult and daily task of building my life and helping others build their lives on solid ground. I need your grace. I trust in your love and providence to build with joy and happiness.
Lord, help me every day to desire with all my soul to reach heaven. May the thought of being eternally united with you help me to overcome all inertia, laziness and disappointments, so that I may stay on the true path in working for you and others.