Daily Reflection – 6/14/19
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” ( Matthew 5:27-32)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is taking us deeper, beyond the Ten Commandments. He’s saying, “You have heard this, but I say to you …” In this section, he’s reminding us of the commandment to not commit adultery. And, he is calling us to face the heart on two issues – lust – specifically, lust in our heart, even with our eyes and our attitude toward fidelity and commitment as expressed in matrimony.
Using the power of hyperbole, he says that if our eye or hand causes us to sin – basically to give in to lust, that is, to want something I can’t or shouldn’t have – then we should put a stop to the lust. Jesus reminds us that lust is deadly for us and it is better to experience the challenge of dying to this addiction that to face eternal death.
We can cringe when he talks about adultery and divorce. Jesus isn’t insensitive to the great tragedies that lead to divorce today. He’s trying to challenge the Jewish tradition which gave all the advantage to the man. In today’s language we’d say that a sacramental marriage – one which mirrors Christ’s own love and fidelity for his Church – should last forever.
I think that Jesus hopes that married couples will not simply be faithful to their marriage vows in a minimal way but that married couples also will strive to keep their commitment strong and their love deep.
In today’s world, every day we hear of celebrity couples as well as couples we know who are separating and getting a divorce. However, I believe that a mindset has evolved over the years that if a “marriage is not working as I want it to work,” then it is time to move on. In many cases this is true. If abuse, anger, or unhealthy behaviors have destroyed a marriage, then getting a divorce or separating likely is a healthy choice.
However, we also need to remember the disposable culture in which we live. Many items that we buy have a short shelf life in our society.
This pattern of a disposable culture often transfers to other areas of our lives: such as a committed relationship, responsibility for children and other family members who need to be loved and cared for.
We need to strengthen our culture, our world, and our lives with good and healthy values that encompass our planet and all of creation. Hopefully, we will model these values every day of our lives by the choices we make.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, begin a new work of love within me. Instill in me a greater love for your commandments. Give me a burning desire to live a life of righteousness, sincerity and holiness. Purify and transform me that I may be fully conformed into the likeness of Christ.
There is a chastity that all of us are called to, in which we are called to give witness to what ii is to regard each human person with dignity and reverence, never to be seen or used as an object of my pleasure or needs. We can pray for the healing our world’s need to return to respecting each and every person as a child of God. As we each move in that direction, with freedom, it will be so much easier to appreciate and love one another, the same way our Lord loves each of us.