As we grow up, we all looked at right and wrong in terms of black and white, yes or no. We saw law and morality as yes or no, as absolute. Only as we grew and matured did we see and understand the complexity and at times that there was a gray area in many laws and interpretations. We seem at times to look at things and call ourselves conservative or liberal. Yet, if we look at today’s gospel, and I chose the short form to more easily see its point. We see Jesus state the law, but actually reinterpret it to place it as not some ideal out there, but something flowing from our own interior disposition and passion. Anger is wrong and opposite to what we should be as Christians. God’s love and our love of God should enable and help us to control ourselves as persons and do far more than follow the letter of the law. Conservative or Liberal are labels and really irrelevant. Love begets compassion and relationships and should enable us to reach out and live our lives in God’s love with the Holy Spirit he has given us. Laws are for the most part, ideals to reach and follow, but obviously all of us fall short of the ideal at one time or another. It is then that God’s love and compassion will embrace us when we reach out to him, to discern with him what is the best for us. Christ is calling all of us to interiorize his message, to control our inner self and to be the salt and light he mentioned in last week’s gospel. This requires we walk with him and open our hearts. The Scribes and Pharisees were the teachers and followers of the law and insisted on it to the point others couldn’t follow it, because the poverty and difficulties of life itself made the many man-made prescriptions impossible to follow. Jesus clearly invoked compassion as his love embraced those caught up in such a way.
Jesus clearly has given a new life and a new way in proclaiming God’s love and a way of life coming from within the hearts and minds of his followers. Love, compassion, reaching out all called for a way to a new life that even now we as Christians and as Church are still struggling to achieve. Yet Christ’s love keeps us going and holds us together in our work and journey together. It is in our committing to him that we find the peace of heart and mind and find the patience and rest that we all seek, even as we continue on each day. Hopefully, it enables us to be that light that beams his message.