Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whomever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrine, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown in prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
Friends, today’s Gospel passage is an excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount. If we are to begin to understand Jesus’ staggering teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, we have to keep ever in our minds the little tagline: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:4-8)
Jesus is the Son of God, and his purpose is not primarily to construct a smooth-functioning human society; it is to establish the kingdom of God – that is to say, a body formed by those who participate in him, who share his relationship with the father.
What is the Father of Jesus Christ like? The Father of Jesus Christ is love, right through. That’s all God is; That’s all he knows how to do. He is not like us: unstable, changing, moving from one attitude to another. No, God simply is love.
Why should you go beyond simply loving those who love you? Because that’s the way God operates: he loves the saints and he also love the worst sinner in hell. Now, is that easy to do? Of course not. But that’s what Jesus call us to” be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Reflect: In this passage, Jesus warns about the deadly sins of anger. When was the last time you were angry? Was it being angry for justice or was it selfish or vengeful?