Daily Reflection – 6/16/2023
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)
Jesus uses such strong language in today’s gospel because he knows that removing deadly things from our life is not easy. It is like losing a piece of ourselves. He also understands that taking such strong action is not possible by willpower alone. God’s grace is necessary.
Sometimes the things that most endanger us appear to us as normal and acceptable. Sometimes the greatest threats to our lives are the things that seem a part of our very selves. Therefore, the thought of leaving those things behind is unthinkable, impossible for us to imagine .
Jesus knows that at times there are things in our life that need to end. And even though it seems like we are cutting off a piece of ourselves, refusing to take that step would endanger something of even greater value.
We might love our work. We might thrill to the excitement of accomplishing things and finding success in our job. But if the energy and time that we put into our work begins to strangle our relationship with our spouse and our children, then we might need to change our job or at least the way that we do it. That possibility might seem like eliminating a very part of ourselves. Yet it would be better to do that than to continue to work full throttle and lose our family in the process.
There may be somebody in our life who consistently manipulates us and tears us down. It could be a relative, a friend, perhaps even a parent. If, after repeated attempts to correct that relationship, we realize that this person will never change, we might have to sever ties with the one who hurts us. Although that might seem like tearing out the fabric of our lives, it would be worse to find ourselves sinking into depression or losing our mental health.
We might recognize that we have an addiction to alcohol, to drugs, to excessive overeating. It might become clear that if we are to remain healthy, we need to stop addiction. To stop, however, might seem impossible, like cutting off our hand. Yet it would be worse to let that addiction control us and possibly destroy us.
But here is where the good news emerges. We believe in a God who calls us to life and happiness. We believe in a God who will assist us when we need to make hard decisions and attain those things that God has promised. We might have to wait for the right moment, but we as a people believe that God will not abandon us. We believe that God will be there to give us the strength we need to move towards life. We need to believe that God is with us and will give us what we need to control our overwork, to protect ourselves from manipulation, to say “No” to that next drink. Yet, we know that with God’s help it can be done. For with God all things are possible.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, help us to identify the negative distractions in our lives that can make us lose the Kingdom of God. Help us to shun them and give us the strength to avoid falling back into their tempting invitations. Jesus, we love you.”
Jesus teaches that righteousness involves responding to every situation in life in a way that fulfills God’s law, not just externally but internally as well. He knows that evil desires spring from the heart. He also knows that lust and adultery lead to even more grievous sin. That is why he discusses that the sin of adultery must first be dealt with in the heart, the place not only of the emotions, but the mind, will, thought, and intentions as well.