Today’s long assigned reading is part of the Sermon on the Mount, which takes up chapters 5-7 in Matthew. These are Jesus’ teachings to the disciples, to Matthew’s community and to us, about a way of living that is countercultural.
When we first read it, we may be taken aback and wonder how in the world we can ever live this way. I’m not sure it was all to be taken literally. This is the passage that talks about tearing out eyes and cutting off limbs if they cause you to sin. Rather, Matthew’s point is that we keep the main thing the main thing.
“Be perfect?”-we all know (I hope) that this is humanly impossible. Scholars believe that the meaning has to do with serving God alone. As I often tell my confirmation students, if we keep the first commandment, we keep them all. “You shall have no other gods before me.” If we strive to keep God #1 in our lives, then we can work to keep all the rest of the commandments and live according to the teachings of Jesus.
Holy God, help us to keep you first in all aspects of our lives. Amen. — HRW