Illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of Matthew 5:17-37
Going to the heart of the matter – “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus clarifies the difficult demands of God’s Ten Commandments. All the evil deeds prohibited by the Ten Commandments arise from evil thoughts and words leading to evil actions. Jesus advises us to begin with ourselves. Good external behavior is not enough; there must be a renewal of hearts and attitudes.

It is not enough to avoid murder – we must avoid thoughts of hate, anger and displeasure with others and hurt-causing words. It is not enough to avoid adultery – we must uphold the sacrament of marriage and respect and honor others as the Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to avoid lies – we must be honest with others as God is with us, and not make promises we don’t intend keeping.

As followers of Jesus we are in this world but not of this world. We should see things differently as God sees the world. Our thoughts, words and actions – our behavior – should reflect the way we recognize God’s presence around us.

We have choices to make: good versus evil, the wisdom of the world versus the wisdom of the cross. Discipleship is not easy. But Jesus promised to be with us and to help us. He has given us his own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation and the help of the Holy Spirit. He wants to shower us with his grace and blessings.

In the second reading St. Paul says, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”

Though our faith journey may be uphill and difficult at times, what God has waiting for us is worth all the effort.

Lord Jesus, renew our hearts so we can live out your call to holiness.