1 Cor 2:6-10
Mt 5:17-37 or 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37
Law and Virtue
Picture a school hallway many years ago. Suddenly a small child starts running down the hall, trips and starts crying because she hurt herself. The next day there is a new rule: No running in the halls. Rules and law are most often for our benefit. The laws found in the Hebrew Scriptures are no different. They were given by God to Moses for the benefit of the community.
We know that Jesus did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. In the gospel for Sunday, we find Jesus affirming those laws and going beyond them to a more loving way of living. Jesus sites a few of the Ten Commandments as examples and uses them to teach us to grow in virtue in imitation of him. Honestly reflecting on the message of Jesus helps us to eliminate selfishness in our hearts. Jesus wants us to imitate him in such a way that we live a virtuous life.
Last Sunday we reflected on the Beatitudes as a way to live committed discipleship. This Sunday’s gospel directs us to be more specific about how we live the guidelines or laws that spell out our daily thoughts, words and actions. Do you know someone who is angry, bitter, complaining or selfish? Is that person truly happy? In the gospel, Jesus is teaching us what we need to live a good life, a fulfilled, happy, wholesome life: a life of virtue.
Ash Wednesday is on February 22nd. Lent is a time most of us try to grow into better people who are committed to discipleship. We have a couple of weeks to look at our lives to assess how faithful we are to God’s commands and wishes for us. Jesus’ desire for us is to go deeper with our faith and in the living out of our lives. The goal is not to avoid “biggies” like killing, theft or adultery, but rather, to become the best person we can be in imitation of Jesus. Like anything worthwhile in life, living a virtuous life requires commitment and discipline, as well as silent prayer seeking God’s assistance.
Jesus wants us to be happy. Living a virtuous life is essential to happiness.
Which Commandment is most difficult for you to practice in your life?
What are some examples of how you live a virtuous life?