A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tough talk

Today’s Gospel (Mt. 5:27-32) has some very tough talk from our Lord:

"You have heard that it was said,
‘You shall not commit adultery.’
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

”If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

"It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife

must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife

(unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman

commits adultery."

As the first reading (2 Cor. 4:7-15) reminds us, “we hold this treasure in earthen vessels” – none of us are so perfect that we can sanctimoniously condemn others, yet neither dare any of us fail to communicate the truth of Christ as faithfully as possible.

  • Relationships may become broken on a human level and we need to be compassionate to those living with these painful human realities, yet we must also firmly uphold the sanctity and the commitment of marriage.
  • Plucking out and cutting off body parts for no medical reason is immoral. Nor is it required by our Lord’s words, for the real cause of our sin is not a body part, but our will.

    Even so, if we are stuck in sinful situations, we need to do whatever it takes to break free, within the bounds of morality, discarding those things that may be precious to us and yet are unhealthy for us, for it is better than... the alternative.

  • Finally, we have responsibility not only for our physical actions but also for our intentional thoughts.

    To be sure, we are not responsible for thoughts that come into our minds unbidden, but we are not without responsibility in what happens before and after. It is certainly wrong for us to purposefully hold onto or to act on immoral thoughts. It is also counterproductive to obsess on ridding ourselves of these thoughts.

    (Remember the story of the two monks: a young girl by a stream asks to be carried across. The older monk does so and she goes on her way. Later, the young monk reproaches the older monk who replies, “I left her behind at the stream. You’re the one still carrying her.”)

    It is good to minimize those things and occasions that may feed our imaginations in wrong ways, but it is always best to focus on filling our minds, our hearts, and imaginations with godly things, so that no untoward thought may have a chance.
The words of the Lord are sometimes tough, but we always do well to let ourselves be challenged, so that we may grow more and more fully in his abundant and glorious grace.

(from a previous post)