Monday 021710

Ordinary Time 7 A

This Sunday, the Gospel passage of the SERmon on the Mount continues with the last two of the “you have hear it said, . . . But I say to you. . . ” sayings, The first is the justice of revenge for which one needs to ack and read in Leviticus 24 where the original eye and tooth saying is recorded, which turns out to be a story of mercy and not revenge. The second is the ancient dilemma of who is my neighbor and how ought I to love them. This is Jesus final saying.

All of these six saying from last two Sunday are then summarized by this verse 48. “So be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus is speaking to the gathering, the incipient church.

This is not a Jansenistic perfection of the self by and for the self to obtain justification to abstract God’s mercy. The word here has a interesting linguistic range that includes concepts like “maturity, fulll grown, make complete, perfect, and a bond which unites everything is complete harmony. This is not the overbearing perfection of the person who is self justified.

Perfection as an attribute of God is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and so right here Jesus is saying something new. the Bible does say, “Be holy, for I am holy.” as a possible parallel. In other words the person who is so aligned after the image of God by fulfilling and completing g the depths of the Law, is brought to perfection by grace, and one’s life is fulfilled and completed,

There’s a great deal to unpack in these Gospel saying, read out the challenges of our lives in this culture of revenge and hate in which we live today. We are far from the Law/Torah, to say nothing of the further interpretation of Jesus.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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