Gospel Meditation

“Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus presents two paths for us today: we can break his commandments or obey them. And the result corresponds to our choice. If we decide not to follow God’s guidelines, we will not enjoy the fullness of the kingdom of heaven. But if we choose otherwise, eternity will look much brighter for us!
Of course, it’s easy to know in our minds what the right choice is. But putting this into practice is another matter. The commandments Jesus gives in today’s Gospel are not easy to follow. He takes the ancient Ten Commandments to a deeper level of commitment. He says more than do not kill. Rather, do not even harbor anger in our hearts. He says more than do not commit adultery. Rather, do not even indulge in lustful thoughts. He says more than do not lie. Rather, do not even swear.
Undoubtedly, Jesus is asking us to chart a challenging course. But he would not expect us to follow these directives if it were impossible to do so. And it’s important to bear in mind that Jesus doesn’t set high standards to test or punish us. His love for us is at the root of everything he teaches us. Following these commandments, challenging though they may be, will in fact make us happier people, both now and in eternity! As with so many good things in life, committed effort on our part is necessary—whether it be maintaining good health, accomplishing a certain skill, or earning a sought-after award. So too with a soul that is truly free. We need to exercise a life of virtue by taking the advice of Jesus Christ, the best life coach we could ever hope to have.
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