June 15, 2019
by Joan Blandin Howard
Creighton University's Christian Spirituality Program
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 364

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4,9-10, 11-12
Matthew 5:33-37

Praying Ordinary Time

Prayers for Fathers and Husbands

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Beginning Again: Talking with God

Just Imagine!

The fifth chapter in Matthew’s gospel begins with Jesus giving the 8 Beatitudes to the “crowd”. The Beatitudes are teachings regarding how to live into the ‘Kingdom of God’. A picture of what life would be in this coming ‘kingdom’.  The Beatitudes are teachings of how we as individuals, but more so how we as the community of the faithful, the body of Christ, the Church are to be in relationship to God, self and others. The Ten Commandments were given privately to Moses.  We sometimes think the Mosaic Law focuses on the ‘shall-nots’.  Not so. There are numerous encouragements and directives to live loving and other-centered lives in Hebrew Scripture (O.T.).  However, Jesus is unique in making concern for others and non-violence central to his message.

In Matthew’s fifth chapter Jesus’ “Teaching about the Law” follows the Beatitudes. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the (Mosaic) law…not to abolish but to fulfill.  Jesus’ ministry, message and mission of love is the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law. 

Following this teaching, comes the six antitheses.  Here Jesus teaches the fulfillment of the law, of the commandments.  They are richer, more expansive teachings. The antitheses are not contradictions, but fulfillments.

The fulfillment of commandment “Thou shall not kill” is expanded to include anger, violent behavior, false judgment, grudges.  The antithesis of this is found in the Beatitudes–

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.”   
      “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called
          children of God.”

You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I (Jesus) say to you love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”

The Beatitudes teach mercy, peacemaking, compassion, comfort and non-violence, love.  In today’s reading we hear the familiar  “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘ yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’.”
If we do so, there will be no need of oaths or swearing.  Truth, justice, non-violence and concern for the other will  prevail.

Matthew’s fifth chapter is so well put together.  When taken as a whole it makes Jesus’ message, ministry and mission of love and non-violence crystal clear.  It follows that the greatest commandment would be to love God, and my neighbor as myself.  Whatever my ministry, my vocation, concern for the other and non-violence are to be central.

Just imagine a mosaic of stained class exquisitely crafted with every hue and shade of all imaginable color.  Each piece a different size and shape perfectly fitted to the next.  A  transparent work of art attracting and transforming light into streams of radiance piercing all life.  Imagine each one of us – women, children, men, rich and poor, abled and disabled, honorable and dishonorable, sick or healthy.  All of us are part of this incredible work of art, this mosaic of “The Kingdom.”

Where am I in this mosaic?  What color, hue or shade?  Who is my neighbor? What is my ministry, my vocation that contributes to the community, the Body of Christ, to the living of the Beatitudes?  Bringing about the Kingdom - the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission, ministry and message of love and non-violence?

Just Imagine!

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